Yesterday, the LA Times reported that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has suspended its effort to analyze DNA evidence from thousands of rape and sexual assault cases.
The department halted shipments of the genetic evidence to private crime laboratories at the end of May after funds allotted for the testing ran dry, according to a report submitted by Sheriff Lee Baca to the county Board of Supervisors late last week.
Sheriff’s Department officials said they expected to receive federal grant money next month, and more funds in the fall, that would allow them to continue testing for four or five months. After that, however, the department will have to rely on an uncertain stream of state funding, officials said.
In late April, CALCASA’s Executive Director, Suzanne Brown-McBride, testified in support of AB 1017 (Portantino): Sexual assault Crimes. This bill relates to the Sexual Assault Victims’ DNA Bill of Rights and has several important provisions that will help victims of sexual assault.
First, this bill would require law enforcement agencies to inform victims if their DNA rape kit evidence is not analyzed within a specified amount of time; second, the bill would require each law enforcement agency responsible for processing rape kit evidence to annually report to the Department of Justice the total number of rape kits in its possession that it has not tested or analyzed.
AB 1017 is scheduled to be hear in Senate Public Safety in late June.
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