CSAO: DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel - 12/8/2009

DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of Meeting - December 8, 2009

Present at the meeting were Lynn D. Wittenbrink, Attorney General’s Office; Dawn Hellier, Department of Public Safety; Michael Bourke, Department of Public Safety Forensic Lab; Carll Ladd, Department of Public Safety Forensic Lab; Wanda White-Lewis, Department of Correction; Lynn Milling, Department of Correction; Samuel Izzarelli, Department of Public Safety; Ken Zercie, Department of Public Safety Forensic Lab; Michael Aiello, Court Support Services Division; Karen Goodrow, Connecticut Innocence Project

Upon motion and second, the minutes of the meeting of September 15, 2009, were accepted.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Karen Goodrow of the Connecticut Innocence Project informed the panel that the post-conviction collaborative effort by her office and the State’s Attorney’s Office met with Judge Quinn to get the Judicial Department familiar with and interested in the effort.  Attorney Goodrow is working with the following persons:  Jim Clark, Assistant State’s Attorney, Inspector Joanne Schaller, John Watson, Darcy McGraw and Ed Nisgorksi.  Memorandums of Understanding are in the process of being completed with the Innocence Project, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Forensic Lab. The grant which commenced on September 1, 2009, lasts for eighteen months, but it is anticipated the time length can be extended.

OLD BUSINESS:

Upon motion and second, the minutes of the June 9, 2009 meeting were clarified on page 2, the first full paragraph of that page. The Department of Public Safety wanted to make clear that while the McCoy v. Boyle case is pending, samples potentially affected by that trial court ruling, currently stayed pending appeal, are still being collected by the Department, in case that was not sufficiently clear from the previous minutes. Attorney Wittenbrink reported that the matter is not expected to be argued until at least February 2010.

Legislative Issues:  The Connecticut State Police will resubmit the same legislative proposal it did last year. The legislation essentially proposes that for those persons required to provide a DNA sample who are not incarcerated, Court Support Services Division will take the sample at one of several locations ordered by the Court. This is likely to increase the compliance rate and be a cost savings for the state. It affects persons conditionally discharged.

The Committee encourages the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office to resubmit the same legislative clarifications that were proposed in previous years, changing “refusal” to provide a sample to “failure” to provide a sample, and increasing such a violation from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony, among others. This is a zero cost proposal which may result in cost savings.

IMPLEMENTATION OF PUBLIC ACT 03-242:

Report of Department of Public Safety-Forensic Lab

Stimulus funds have been used to transition mitochondrial DNA analysts to work on both the offender sample backlog as well as Connecticut mitochondrial DNA cases. This training started in September, and those persons were online for production in October of 2009. Just over 4000 samples were finalized in November with a good number of hits. There are currently approximately 57000 searchable samples with over 3500 forensic samples and 1238 prosecutions assisted by a DNA match. The lab currently has the lowest number of backlogged samples, 16,536, in over three years. Our state is currently focusing on reducing the offender backlog.

The lab is still working on filling in assorted grant positions.

Report of Department of Correction

The Department of Correction started collecting DNA samples from persons with long sentences on November 23, 2009, in addition to the samples it takes from persons nearing the end of their sentences. Approximately 503 samples were taken in this initiative just since November 23, 2009. There have been at least 73 refusals from this new population. The Department of Correction is moving very quickly on these offenders with long sentences. Approximately 3300 samples are expected to be taken in this initiative in the next couple of months.

Report of Court Support Services Division

The Division is not collecting samples from persons convicted of motor vehicle offenses. The Division has a 78% compliance rate, and has sent an average of 270 letters a month informing offenders of their obligation to provide a sample.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

The panel went into executive session at 10:14 and came out of executive session at approximately 10:25. After coming out of executive session, the Panel took the following action:

  • Sample B 12/9/08 - Purged by unanimous vote

The meeting adjourned at 10:30 am.  The next meeting of the Panel is scheduled for March 9, 2010 at 9:30 am.



Content Last Modified on 12/14/2009 12:38:25 PM