Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reducing forensic backlogs source of rare agreement at hearing

At the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing today on the Forensic Science Commission, the only reform that new commission chair John Bradley truly sounded enthusiastic about was reducing backlogs at crime labs, so I was interested to see this report out today from CBS News analyzing backlogs in various states. Here's their excerpt about Texas:
At the state lab at the Texas Department of Public Safety there are 1,433 sexual assault kits on open, active cases waiting to be tested. In Houston there are 462 rape kits waiting for preliminary testing to see if there are any biological stains, and 237 kits waiting for DNA testing. The oldest kits date back to 2008. There are also 3,846 kits in storage that have not been tested.

A Houston Police Department spokesman told CBS the kits have not been tested because the kits are taken from victims where the identity of the suspect is not in question, where the department is not pursuing prosecution or the kits are provided by victims who later recanted.

On average in San Antonio the turnaround time for rape kits is 15 to 20 working days according to the San Antonio Police Department at a cost of $315 per kit. The department tells CBS they have 5,191 untested rape kits in storage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And Bradley wants the Rangers to help him formulate investigative rules for his commission? The man needs a CAT scan, stat!