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  • DNA follies

    Does every county in this state have this problem?

    On every serious crime, property or otherwise, we swab for DNA. It usually takes months (6 to 8) to get a reply. Usually it's a no hit reply because the offender isn’t in the system yet..

    Often we get a hit 1 to 2 years later when the offender is sent to prison and, as a condition of his sentence, he has his DNA collected by CDC, which is then entered into the database. The problem is that no one knows who collected that DNA from the convict and even if we did, that person would not be available to testify that he withdrew the DNA because he probably just sits on a human assembly line and does thousands of them, so he cant say on the stand "Yes I remember collecting DNA from that guy."

    So we can only use the DNA hit as a lead to get a search warrant, then go and collect the dudes DNA again. Problem is the CDC sends convicts all over the state so we have to drive for hours and hours to get to the prison. From the OC I have had to drive to Wasco, Tehachapi and San Luis Obispo. Some of the prisoners are so far away we don't have a clue what to do. We have one guy in Susanville which is on the Oregon border. We aren't going to send a detective to Susanville on a vehicle burglary case.

    Does everybody have this problem? Have you come up with a solution?
    Originally posted by FJDave
    GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

    District B13
    "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm


    Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

    "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

    Pope Gregory V II

  • #2
    1) Have an expert witness testify as to how DNA is collected from the prisoners (probably not feasible if the DNA was not collected in your locale) in order to establish foundation for the collection process and the accuracy of the records indicating who the sample comes from.

    2) Get the DA to introduce the records indicating the DNA sample came from suspect as a business record and therefore an exception to the hearsay rule.

    3) Get the DA to file and if the bad guy contests the DNA get the judge to order a confirmatory sample.

    or another thought...

    How about getting the CDC Security Squad (in house investigators) to serve the warrant for you and Fedex the updated DNA sample to you? They are peace officers and have the power to serve your warrant at their facility. I'm sure there is a way you can ship evidence in a sealed container that would allow for proper chain of custody. I'll bet if you ask nicely they would do it for you.

    Prop 115 for them at prelim and if it goes to trial (how many actually go to trial right?) you might have to have the CDC officer come testify that he served your warrant and either collected or witnessed the collection and sent the evidence to you.
    If you see me running try to keep up!

    Comment


    • #3
      Are you saying it takes 6-8 months to process the sample? or to come back with a match?

      I work at a Medical Lab and we usually send our DNA samples out to Quest in Vegas. There definitely has to be a "chain of custody" form for the sample and the least amount of people coming in contact with the sample, the better. I suggest finding a way to get the prison to collect the sample and instead of sending it to you, have them directly FedEx it to the medical lab that is doing the testing.

      Our lab offers training sessions for the staff who would be doing the testing and I'm nearly certain most of the major companies will also offer that service.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Garbage Man View Post
        From the OC I have had to drive to Wasco, Tehachapi and San Luis Obispo. Some of the prisoners are so far away we don't have a clue what to do. We have one guy in Susanville which is on the Oregon border. We aren't going to send a detective to Susanville on a vehicle burglary case.
        Don't you like junkets? Nice leisurely drive, through lovely Central California, stopping in at pleasant abodes, meeting new and interesting people, and always, always, bringing back a little something special to remember the trip!!! Don't forget, it's not the destination that's special, it's the journey!
        "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LeeRoy View Post
          1) Have an expert witness testify as to how DNA is collected from the prisoners (probably not feasible if the DNA was not collected in your locale) in order to establish foundation for the collection process and the accuracy of the records indicating who the sample comes from.

          2) Get the DA to introduce the records indicating the DNA sample came from suspect as a business record and therefore an exception to the hearsay rule.

          3) Get the DA to file and if the bad guy contests the DNA get the judge to order a confirmatory sample.

          or another thought...

          How about getting the CDC Security Squad (in house investigators) to serve the warrant for you and Fedex the updated DNA sample to you? They are peace officers and have the power to serve your warrant at their facility. I'm sure there is a way you can ship evidence in a sealed container that would allow for proper chain of custody. I'll bet if you ask nicely they would do it for you.

          Prop 115 for them at prelim and if it goes to trial (how many actually go to trial right?) you might have to have the CDC officer come testify that he served your warrant and either collected or witnessed the collection and sent the evidence to you.
          Is this what you guys do? Has a DA signed off on this?

          Some problems I see

          I dont think we can ship evidence by Fedex

          The DNA is mostly liekly collected in Chino which is in another county.

          We have tried to have the DA do is just file the case and order him down to us so we can collect another sample for comparison but our lab say the fastest they can process that is 3 weeks and the DA is afaraid he will march into court and say "Try me now"


          Reference the time delay question from anther poster. It takes months to get to the sample in the first place, then months to finish procesing it. We dont actually run the DNA what they do is enter it into a program called CODIS and that program runs a comparison program weekly. A big part of the delay is that the crook isnt caught yet. It can be years later that he finally gets busted and then his DNA is also entered into CODIS.

          To be honest guys I am less interested in suggestion on what might be done than I am in things that other counties have done and the DA has permitted it. maybe even case precedent that it works.
          Last edited by Garbage Man; 07-31-2008, 09:15 AM.
          Originally posted by FJDave
          GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

          District B13
          "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm


          Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

          "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

          Pope Gregory V II

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Garbage Man View Post
            Is this what you guys do? Has a DA signed off on this?

            Some problems I see

            I dont think we can ship evidence by Fedex

            The DNA is mostly liekly collected in Chino which is in another county.

            We have tried to have the DA do is just file the case and order him down to us so we can collect another sample for comparison but our lab say the fastest they can process that is 3 weeks and the DA is afaraid he will march into court and say "Try me now"
            No sorry. I left detectives a couple of years ago and am now a patrol supervisor. We aren't swabbing for DNA in property crime cases except for residential burglaries so I don't think we've had a flurry of hits.

            The FBI has agencies ship evidence to their lab in Quantico regularly so evidence can be shipped via common carrier and have the chain of custody still stand up in both federal and state courts.

            You are probably ahead of most of the state here with this problem. DA's offices look for the easiest solution for them, not for you.

            Nothing in 1534 or 1537 PC requires the serving officer to personally return the warrant. It seems to me the CDCR guys could serve your warrant and then either mail the warrant and return back to you or mail it directly to the judge.

            If a guy is already in prison is your county really going to sentence him to more time for the old burglary you just solved with a cold DNA hit? I'd suggest you sit down with your filing or trial DA's and look for a way to dispose of some of these cold hits without the hassle of a prosecution that very well might only end in concurrent time served.
            If you see me running try to keep up!

            Comment


            • #7
              PCR-GE (basic DNA profiling) can be done in a matter of hours. The delays are procedural and related to backlogs. That in turn is due largely to the process being allocated exclusively to "pet" vendors.

              Comment

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