For example, in 1995, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement linked evidence found on a rape-homicide victim to a convicted rapist’s DNA profile just eight days before he was scheduled for parole.
For example, in 1995, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement linked evidence found on a rape-homicide victim to a convicted rapist’s DNA profile just eight days before he was scheduled for parole.Had he been released prior to being linked to the unsolved rape-homicide, he may very well have raped or murdered again.
DNA is generally used to solve crimes in one of two ways.
In cases where a suspect is identified, a sample of that person’s DNA can be compared to evidence from the crime scene.
At the time of his conviction, he was required to provide a sample of his DNA, and the resulting DNA profile was entered into a DNA database.
Several years later, another sexual assault was committed.
However, the current federal and state DNA collection and analysis system needs improvement: In addition, these labs may be ill-equipped to handle the increasing influx of DNA samples and evidence.
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The problems of backlogs and lack of up-to-date technology result in significant delays in the administration of justice.Currently all 50 states and the federal government have laws requiring that DNA samples be collected from some categories of offenders.When used to its full potential, DNA evidence will help solve and may even prevent some of the Nation’s most serious violent crimes.This system, called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), maintains DNA profiles obtained under the federal, state, and local systems in a set of databases that are available to law enforcement agencies across the country for law enforcement purposes.CODIS can compare crime scene evidence to a database of DNA profiles obtained from convicted offenders.The results of this comparison may help establish whether the suspect committed the crime.In cases where a suspect has not yet been identified, biological evidence from the crime scene can be analyzed and compared to offender profiles in DNA databases to help identify the perpetrator.With this additional federal backlog reduction funding, the funding provided by this initiative to improve crime laboratory capacity, and continued support from the states, the current backlogs will be eliminated in five years.Understanding the Backlog The state and local backlog problem has two components: (1) “casework sample backlogs,” which consist of DNA samples obtained from crime scenes, victims, and suspects in criminal cases, and (2) “convicted offender backlogs,” which consist of DNA samples obtained from convicted offenders who are incarcerated or under supervision.TOC | Executive Summary | Using DNA to Protect the Innocent The past decade has seen great advances in a powerful criminal justice tool: deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists.