Category Archives: Backlogs

Yearlong wait for DNA testing results frustrates Utah judge, who threatens to put a crime lab employee in jail

backlog sexual assault kitsNot unique • Corporon said Wednesday that her client’s case is hardly unique. He is not the first defendant to sit in jail for months as trial dates are canceled because of a lack of DNA results — and she is not the only defense attorney who has encountered this.
“Over and over again, in cases in which sex crimes are alleged, the critical DNA evidence is not available for many months, or a year or more,” she wrote in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “This impacts everyone in the system.”

Why there’s a 5-day window to collect evidence in rape cases

Backlog of rape kitsGRAND RAPIDS, MI – When a rape survivor comes into the YWCA for help, they’re already feeling traumatized and powerless. So the first thing the specially-trained staff try to do is put that person back in control.
As they walk the survivor through each step of a sexual assault medical forensic exam – and explain how evidence is collected from their body for a rape kit – the overall goal is to empower them.

Testing of Oregon’s shelved sexual assault kits nets first 5 DNA matches

sexual assault kitsSix months after three counties in Oregon began shipping hundreds of untested DNA samples from alleged victims of sexual assault to a Utah lab, the first results are in: Five match known offenders in a criminal database.

Update: Nevada backlog of untested rape kits

nv-sexual-assault-kitsCARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) – Rape kit testing is an expensive process. Sometimes rape kits aren’t tested because other evidence can be used to convict the suspect. Or a suspect can plead out and the tests don’t have to be conducted.

Rape Survivors Are Suing to Have Their Rape Kits Processed

san-francisco-rape-kitHeather Marlowe was raped at a party in May 2010, during the city’s popular Bay to Breakers footrace. She reported the assault and subjected herself to the four-hour forensic examination, which produces a cache of evidence commonly known as a rape kit. Kits can include semen, hair, and skin cells from the attacker, all of which can be used to identify a suspect. But the San Francisco police didn’t test her kit for more than two years—and today, they still haven’t managed to catch her attacker.

Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits

Justice Dept“Promega Corporation gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the video “Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits”. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Rape kit backlog reflects failure of justice in Alaska

alaska-state-crime-labLast fall, Gov. Bill Walker requested to know the number of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers and police departments around the state. Thirty-four of the 53 police departments have yet to report their numbers. The 19 that have, including the Troopers, have reported that their inventory goes back more than 20 years and is about 3,600 untested rape kits.

Victims’ advocates seeking justice for 1,400 DNA cases left in limbo

DNA LabAUSTIN (KXAN) — Victims’ advocates are calling on city leaders to reopen Austin Police Department’s DNA Lab.
The lab was shut down due to the lack of properly trained staff and outdated technology. The Travis County DA’s Office has identified nearly 1,400 DNA cases since the mid-1980s that may have been compromised by how the APD lab was testing and analyzing DNA mixtures.

Hundreds of rape kits, some stored for years, to flood State Crime Lab

NorrisThe GBI’s State Crime Lab expects to receive an additional 864 rape kits within a week that have been stored, for years in some cases, in police evidence lockers and never analyzed for DNA matches.
Sixty-one percent of them will come from the Atlanta Police Department, according to GBI records.

GBI confirms ten CODIS matches in warehoused rape kits

sexual assault kitsDEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Some sexual assault victims could soon get justice.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirms they have matched 10 of the state’s previously untested rape kits to profiles already in the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which is the national DNA database.
Those kits were just some of the more than 2,000 turned over to the GBI in recent months. Last summer when it was discovered that evidence was sitting on agency shelves across the state because of confusion over testing policies.

By bringing forgotten rape kits out of storage, Alaska may deliver long-overdue justice

Alaska Crime labThis year, as Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and legislators tangled over the best way to solve Alaska’s budget woes, he quietly launched a mandate to do right by Alaska’s victims of sexual assault.
Ten months ago, Walker tasked all state of Alaska departments and law enforcement agencies with the duty to collect, maintain, store and preserve sexual assault kits to find out how many kits exist that have never made it into the hands of DNA analysts for review.

State auditor plans meetings to address rape kit backlog

Sexual assualt backlogState Auditor Tim Keller announced Wednesday a series of meetings across New Mexico to discuss the statewide backlog of evidence in 5,400 rape cases that might have pinpointed suspects through DNA analysis but instead have sat untested in police evidence rooms.

Man Convicted In 1995 West Village Rape As Result Of Backlog Rape Kit Testing

sexual assault kits“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested: many jurisdictions don’t mandate rape kit testing, and it’s generally considered a low priority for law enforcement, according to ENDTHEBACKLOG, a nonprofit working to eliminate the rape kit backlog. Last year, the Manhattan DA gave $38 million in grants to 32 jurisdictions in 20 states across the country to help tackle the national backlog, and since then, 494 DNA profiles have been uploaded to the national database, with 70% of them resulting in a hit, according to the DA’s office.”

Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults

Justice DeptYesterday, the White House held a Summit on Women, where speakers discussed how the nation is moving forward to address issues affecting women and girls. At this Summit, NIJ launched it’s special report, Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults to help practitioners and advocates understand the larger context of improving the justice system’s response to sexual assault.
Read about NIJ’s work on testing sexual assault kits in Down the Road.

Sexual assault kits: Is there a backlog in Idaho?

sexual assault kit 2MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) — — “There are definitely cases right now that are backlogged at the state lab,” said Matthew Gamette, Idaho State forensic lab director said.
The lab director inside the Idaho Forensics lab says the goal is to complete DNA kits within 30 days.