Collecting forensic evidence from a rape victim takes two to six hours at a time when most of us would want nothing more than a hot shower and to crawl under our own covers.
The payoff is that the evidence, especially DNA, can not only confirm a suspect’s identity or that a sexual assault occurred but also solve other crimes — if it’s ever tested by a laboratory.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The state auditor’s office is sending surveys this week to more than 400 local law enforcement agencies to determine exactly how many sexual assault kits have never been forwarded to Kentucky State Police labs for DNA testing.
Maryland legislators, buoyed by a national campaign and the commitment of federal resources, are considering legislation to eventually clear the backlog of sexual assault forensic kits, or rape kits, in the state.
Anyone who has watched a crime show knows that in TV-land, DNA is collected and processed within a neat and tidy one hour show.
Unfortunately, in the real world, with backlogs at most state labs and more and more cases coming in, the process isn’t nearly as fast.
The day after his daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, announced the formation of a statewide felony sex crime task force, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced Wednesday he will push for a $6 million increase in funding to state and local crime labs that handle rape cases.
DA Vance released a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting grant applications for the District Attorney’s $35 million initiative to eliminate backlogs of untested sexual assault evidence kits, or “rape kits,” from jurisdictions across the country. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will award successful applicants up to $2 million for a two-year period to aid jurisdictions in analyzing untested, backlogged rape kits. Representatives of 40 jurisdictions from 26 states submitted Expressions of Interest earlier this year, indicating more than 70,000 untested rape kits within their jurisdictions.
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin law enforcement will start collecting DNA samples Wednesday from people arrested for certain crimes.
DNA samples will be collected from people being arrested on violent felony charges and everyone convicted of a crime whether it be a misdemeanor or felony, according to a release.
Johannesburg – The SA Police Service (SAPS) had managed to reduced its forensic backlog by 92 percent, it said on Monday.
“Since [the] 2009/10 financial year, the forensic laboratories reduced [the] backlog from 59 023 to [a] commendable level of about 4440 case entries which depicts [a] 92 percent backlog reduction up to the third quarter of 2014/15,” said SAPS spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale.
This included backlogs in DNA and drug analysis as well as trichology.
Across the country, an estimated 400,000 rape kits—the DNA swabs, hair, photographs, and detailed information gathered from victims of sexual assault and used as evidence for the prosecution to convict rapists—have never been tested. Testing kits can be expensive, and in many jurisdictions, a lack of funds has resulted in kits being consigned to dusty shelves, stored in abandoned police warehouses, or stowed away in forensic labs—sometimes for years. As a result, survivors may never see their rapists prosecuted, and repeat offenders continue to commit crimes.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Officials say more than 5,600 of 12,000 backlogged rape evidence kits have been tested in Memphis, leading to the identification of nearly three dozen alleged rapists.
As of Feb. 20, the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Forensic Services had evidence from 323 sexual assault and rape cases that were awaiting testing in its five regional labs. That is a far cry from the kind of backlogs reported reently in cities across the United States.
DNA collected in thousands of sexual assault cases has never been tested, sitting in evidence rooms in police departments throughout Washington, but a bill in the Legislature could start to change that.
PALM DESERT, Calif. – Some California law makers are pushing to have people who are arrested for certain misdemeanor crimes give DNA samples to police.
HOUSTON (KTRK) — Houston’s leaders celebrated a milestone Monday, as Mayor Annise Parker, District Attorney Devon Anderson along with police brass and crime lab officials heralded the official end of a backlog of rape kits, some dating back to the 1980s.
The latest update on the city’s rape kit backlog was disclosed during the Memphis City Council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meeting Tuesday morning.
Nearly 7,000 of the 12,374 untested rape kits discovered by the Memphis Police Department (MPD) in late 2013 and early 2014 still await laboratory analysis.