CSAO: DNA Databank Oversight Panel - June 10, 2014

DNA DataBank Oversight Panel

DRAFT Minutes of Meeting
June 10, 2014
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Laboratory
Meriden, Connecticut

 

The meeting convened at 9:40 a.m. Present at the meeting were Guy Vallaro, Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection (DESPP)-Forensic Laboratory Director Angela Przech, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Dahong Sun, DESPP- Forensic Lab; Matthew Garcia, DESPP; Antoinette Webster, DESPP- Legal; Michael Aiello, Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD); David Maiga, Department of Correction (DOC); Robert Dearington, Office of the Attorney General; Darcy McGraw, Connecticut Innocence Project; and Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney (OCSA).

 

The minutes of the meetings of March 11, 2014, were reviewed and accepted.    

 

On behalf of the laboratory, Ms. Johannes reported that as of May 31, 2014, approximately 102,828 convicted offender samples (the number has not been corrected for duplicates) have been submitted to the lab. Of these samples, 97,990 (up 1570 from the last report) have been profiled and reside in CODIS. The backlog of convicted offender samples waiting to be processed has decreased by 124 to 534. There are 5,972 profiles in the Forensic Index.

 

The lab reported that 2550 investigations have been aided so far based on 2515 confirmed hits. Approximately 36 candidate matches are under evaluation.

 

The lab further reported that there are approximately 1373 incomplete cases in LIMS assigned to the DNA Section. 

 

The lab reported that the FBI is looking at using rapid DNA technology for reference samples, specifically at the time of booking. It was noted that Connecticut’s ability to use that technology for that purpose would be limited in the absence of a statute generally authorizing the taking of DNA from all individuals at the time of arrest. 

 

The lab noted that while Connecticut does not have a statute authorizing the taking of DNA from all arrestees some police departments have taken DNA samples under the arrestee law that currently exists. The lab noted that under the statute those samples could be put into the database but could not be used for comparison with a known sample in the particular case. 

 

The lab also reported on developments at the national CODIS state administrator’s meeting.

 

The Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD) reported that from January 2014 to March 2014, they scheduled 636 appointments to obtain DNA samples and that they were able to collect 518 samples which is a collection rate of approximately 81 percent. They reported 181 profiles were obtained from other sources. CSSD reported that in 277 non-probation cases they needed to obtain samples from 105 individuals, approximately 38%. CSSD sent 23 memos to the Department of Correction asking them to collect samples and submitted 51 new warrants for the refusal to submit to the taking of a DNA sample to the State Police. 

 

The Judicial Branch further reported that of the approximately 50,000 people who are currently on probation, 1931 of those who are required to submit DNA samples have not done so. Nine hundred seventy-two of those individuals are currently in warrant status. 

 

The Judicial Branch reported that they are redoing their cases management system which will enable them to more efficiently communicate with those who are required to provide samples. Judicial is going to open more collection sites in the Northwest region of the state to see if it assists in the collection of samples. Finally, Judicial reported that, in accord with a recent decision from the Connecticut Supreme Court, it will be collecting samples from individuals who have been convicted of crimes and subjected to enhanced penalties that are longer than one year.    

 

Matthew Garcia, DESPP, Sex Offender Registry Unit, reported that the unit has a backlog of 150 cases at the unit and that the unit is working on preparing warrants for the cases submitted by CSSD.

 

David Maiga, on behalf of the Department of Correction, reported that they obtained 635 new samples since the last meeting and 1100 in the year to date. The number of inmates who have refused to provide a sample is 247. 

 

Darcy McGraw from the Connecticut Innocence Project reported that she attended a meeting of Innocence Projects from around the country. She reported that most states now have statutes authorizing post-conviction testing of DNA in certain circumstances. She reported that one of the issues discussed at the national meeting was trying to get direct access to CODIS for members of the defense bar. She reported that she had spoken with Kevin Kane, Chief State’s Attorney, and Leonard Boyle, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney, about the need for a conviction integrity unit in the State’s Attorney’s office in Connecticut. She also reported that the funding the project had received under an earlier grant was almost up and that it was unlikely that the project would seek to renew the grant. 

 

The Committee went into executive session at 10:40 a.m. At 10:55 a.m. the Committee came out of executive session. As a result of discussion during the executive session, the following actions will be taken:

  • Sample 3/11/14-B will be purged. 
  • Sample 6/10/14-A will be held pending further investigation.

At 10:56 a.m., the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for September 9, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory. 

 



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