LAS VEGAS, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt has announced his office will pledge $3.68 million in funding to eliminate Nevada’s backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits, or “rape kits.”
Daily Archives: September 11, 2015
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Justice and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. today announced nearly $80 million in grants to law enforcement agencies across the nation to test rape kits, prosecute cases and support victims.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s crime lab has been testing rape kits since 2011 and a team led by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s office has handled more than 1,800 investigations resulting in hundreds of indictments and more than 100 convictions.
Here are some things that investigators, prosecutors and advocates in other cities and state might learn from Ohio.
The Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratories have received a $1.9 million grant for DNA testing on backlogged sexual assault kits.
The grant, from the District Attorney of New York County’s office in Manhattan, will help law enforcement agencies across the state in processing the more than 800 backlogged kits, some of which have been sitting in police storage facilities for years.
Until this year, Portland police did not routinely present DNA evidence obtained from all rape cases to the state crime lab.
But as detectives struggled to solve the Dec. 13 rape and killing of 14-year-old Melissa Bittler and pored through old sexual assault cases, they found more than 1,000 rape kits that never had been submitted and recognized a need for new protocol.
Attorney General Mark Herring and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran announced today that the Commonwealth of Virginia has received a $1.4 million grant to conduct DNA testing and analyze more than 2,000 untested Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) associated with sexual assaults in Virginia.
“This funding will provide us the financial wherewithal to screen and test these things for DNA and potentially put those in our DNA database,” said Kermit Channell, Executive Director of the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
ATLANTA (WXIA) — The GBI will get nearly two million dollars to eliminate a backlog of untested rape kits, officials said Thursday. The grant could solve a nagging problem which left rape cases in limbo — often for years — because evidence hadn’t been tested and analyzed.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in Oregon received nearly $4 million in grant funding Thursday to test DNA in sexual assault kits that were never sent to the state crime lab for analysis.
The grants were among more than $70 million awarded in 26 states through two separate programs run by the U.S. Bureau of Justice and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Advances in science are making it possible for forensic labs to identify trace amounts of DNA from evidence. Science is also helping us identify more effective methods to support victims. Studies in neuroscience, for example, are showing how trauma may affect a victim’s ability to remember and explain details of an assault. Social science research is providing evidence-based guidance on collecting evidence to improve investigation and prosecution.