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FORENSIC DNA ASSESSMENT

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FORENSIC DNA ASSESSMENT Attorney General's Initiative on DNA Laboratory Backlog Working Group Meeting October 21 & 22 Washington, DC Presented by: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: FORENSIC DNA ASSESSMENT


1
FORENSIC DNA ASSESSMENT
Attorney General's Initiative on DNA Laboratory
Backlog Working Group Meeting October 21 22
Washington, DC
Presented by Smith Alling Lane, P.S. Tacoma, WA
(253) 627-1091 Washington, DC (202)
258-2301 London 011 (44) 798 953 8386 Tim
Schellberg, J.D. tims_at_smithallinglane.com Lisa
Hurst lhurst_at_smithallinglane.com
2
The Next Five Years Goals for DNA Advocates
  • 1. All felons databases in all but a few states
  • 2. Casework backlogs cleared
  • 3. Routine casework at all relevant crime scene

State legislators State agencies responsible for
crime labs Congress US Department of
Justice Law enforcement City and County
government
3
Policy Makers Want DATA, FACTS, NUMBERS...
  • Four questions policy makers want answered
  • 1. What does passing DNA database expansion
    legislation do to the odds of solving a
    particular crime?

2. With funding to complete all DNA casework
(past, current, future) how many crimes will be
solved? This would include an assessment of how
many untested rape kits exist.
3. How many crimes, particularly rapes and
homicides, could be prevented if database
legislation is passed and all casework (past,
current, future) is completed?
4. Will expanded databases and casework funding
create financial efficiencies for the criminal
justice system? What are the anticipated savings?
4
Forensic DNA Assessment Project
  • NIJ has awarded a grant to Smith Alling Lane,
    working in partnership with Washington State
    University, to answer these questions.
  • Assessment questionnaire will be sent to
  • state labs
  • local labs
  • local law enforcement agencies
  • All agencies with 100 or more officers
    (approximately 1000).
  • A statistically valid sampling of remaining
    agencies (approximately 2000).
  • Indian tribes

5
TIMELINE
  • Assessment tool will be mailed on November 1,
    2002.
  • Preliminary report to NIJ by the end of January
    2003 (in time for congressional budgets).
  • Report updates every two months until report is
    finalized (targeted at June 2003).

6
STATUS
  • Assessment is in final review. Reviewers
    include
  • National Institute of Justice
  • Washington State University
  • State Laboratory representatives
  • Local Laboratory representatives
  • Local Agency representatives

7
ENSURING RESULTS
  • Assessment mailing will include two follow-up
    mailings to all non-respondents
  • Personal calls will be made to all forensic labs
  • identification of respondent designee
  • Personal calls will be made to all local agencies
    with more than 100 officers
  • identification of respondent designee
  • coordination between units, as necessary
  • Personal calls will be made to remaining local
    agencies, as time permits.

8
THE PROJECT GOAL IS NOT
  • to obtain a statistical survey of laboratory
    backlogs
  • to complete a census of the untested DNA
    evidence at every local law enforcement agency in
    the country

9
THE PROJECT GOAL IS
  • to provide a general assessment of the use of
    forensic DNA by law enforcement
  • to give a base from which extrapolations may be
    made projecting the national DNA backlog
  • to educate on the importance of expanded,
    operational forensic DNA programs and databases

10
  • QUESTION 1 What does passing DNA database
    expansion legislation do to the odds of solving a
    particular crime?
  • Extensive review of CODIS successes
  • Types of crimes solved and types of offenders
    linked to crimes
  • Criminal history of offenders
  • Investigations aided
  • Case studies, as needed
  • Successes of Virginia and Florida
  • New York data 75 of first 500 hits a result of
    1999 expansion.

11
  • QUESTION 2 With funding to complete all DNA
    casework (past, current, future) how many crimes
    will be solved?
  • Assessment of backlog
  • Rape kits, cold cases, property crimes
  • Numbers from state labs, local labs and local
    agencies
  • Analysis turn-around time
  • Report on state of DNA casework
  • Types and numbers of cases being analyzed
  • Comparisons of success in all-felons states

12
  • QUESTION 3 How many crimes, particularly rapes
    and homicides, could be prevented if database
    legislation is passed and all casework (past,
    current, future) is completed?
  • Crime rates and crime scene DNA collection rates
  • Case studies
  • Serial offenders with criminal histories
  • Backlogs that delayed the identification of
    offenders
  • Comparisons of success in all-felons states

13
  • QUESTION 4 Will expanded databases and casework
    funding create financial efficiencies for the
    criminal justice system? What are the anticipated
    savings?
  • Forensic DNA needs of labs
  • Historic funding levels from local, state,
    federal
  • Case studies
  • Identifying (or excluding) suspects quickly
  • Prosecuting DNA cases

14
YOUR QUESTIONS
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