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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lawmakers try to Reduce DNA Backlog Instead of Other Forms of Data

From Stateline.org: State and federal lawmakers are trying to reduce backlogs in unanalyzed DNA evidence even as more common forms of forensic data are being neglected, crime lab directors say.

"Analysis of DNA evidence accounts for only about 5 percent of most crime labs’ work,"said Earl Wells, director of the
American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) and head of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s forensic services unit. "Lab scientists spend much more time analyzing other forensic evidence such as controlled substances and fingerprints," he said.

State and federal legislators have focused their attention on the elimination of DNA backlogs because DNA “happens to be the hot topic today,” Wells said. At the same time, non-DNA evidence sits unexamined in most of the nation’s estimated 350 publicly funded crime labs, Wells said – slowing down all forensic analysis. More than 200 of those labs are state or regional facilities. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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