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Thursday, September 14, 2006

California DNA Lab Backlog is Slowing Down Justice

From latimes.com: Two years after California set out to create a vast DNA database to help unravel thousands of unsolved crimes, the program is being severely hampered by a lack of resources, officials across the state say.

The state crime lab has a backlog of more than a quarter-million DNA samples it is unable to process because of a funding shortfall and a lack of manpower, directors acknowledge. At its current rate, the lab would need 2 1/2 years to clear the backlog — if it received no more samples. But that is unlikely because it is taking in about 20,000 samples a month, officials said.

State officials, Los Angeles police officers and the director of a rape treatment center in Santa Monica say the backlog means that crimes are going unsolved and that criminals who could be arrested may still be walking the streets.

"There will come a time when we will be sitting on a case where we have the offender profile and we are waiting for a match in [the database] who is among the 300,000 unprocessed samples and this offender will strike again," said Tim Marcia, a veteran detective in the LAPD's cold-case unit who has used DNA to solve rapes and murders. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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