14 Jan 2013 / by The Law Center PC / in Criminal Defense/DUI, Sexual Assault
Rape kits were often untested by Colorado police
When women in Colorado report being sexually assaulted, police generally have the woman undergo a rape kit, a procedure meant to gather DNA evidence of who committed the crime. Besides establishing the prime suspect, a rape kit can also rule out other potential suspects when their DNA is not a match to the evidence collected.
But according to a recent news investigation, law enforcement in Colorado often failed to test rape kits after they have been collected. It is at least theoretically possible that law enforcement’s failure to use all available evidence could have resulted in wrongful convictions for sexual assault.
The report said that Denver police have not tested 44 percent of the rape kits they have collected since 2008. The figures for Fort Collins are even worse; 72 percent of rape kits since 2007 have gone untested. Police departments say that they believed that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was not interested in testing of kits when the accuser knows the suspect. That was in error, leaving hundreds of kits wrongfully untested.
Lawmakers are quickly reacting to the revelations. Speaker of the Colorado House Frank McNutly said he plans to introduce a bill to require testing of all rape kits. At the federal level, Sen. Michael Bennet introduced a bill in May that would require police departments receiving a particular federal grant to spend 75 percent of the grant money on rape kit testing. It remains to be seen if these pieces of legislation will pass or if Colorado police will test more rape kits.
Source: KMGH-TV, “State, federal legislators react after CALL7 investigation into rape kit testing in Colorado,” Keli Rabon and Arthur Kane, Nov. 26, 2012
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