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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State DNA Lab Backlog Eliminated, Attorney General Kamala Harris Says

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Attorney General Kamala Harris
  • Attorney General Kamala Harris

California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement today asserting that a backlog of DNA evidence has been eliminated at state forensics labs, speeding the analysis of evidence in criminal cases.

Harris said in the statement that "routine analysis" of DNA can now be performed within 30 days, whereas before it had taken up to 120 days. She attributed the improvement in part to new technology, such as a robotic extraction procedure for sexual-assault evidence that reduced analysis time from two days to two hours.

"Crime scene evidence is too important to sit unanalyzed for months while the victims await justice," Harris said in the statement.

DNA backlogs were a major issue at the San Francisco Police Department Crime Lab when Harris was the city's District Attorney. A string of violent rapes of transgender women that might have been prevented by timely DNA analysis became particularly notorious.

Harris also presided over the beginning of a scandal stemming from a potential cover-up in the DA's office and SFPD of problems with the San Francisco crime lab's DNA unit.

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Peter Jamison

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