Rep. Maloney on DNA Evidence Kit Backlogs
Washington, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) sent a letter to the Department of Justice in response to media reports that some local law enforcement agencies are not reducing their backlogs of unprocessed DNA evidence kits, despite significant grant funding from the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, which Maloney created and helped usher into law. In her letter to the Department, a full copy of which follows, Maloney asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to outline the steps DOJ is taking to fully disburse authorized funds to local agencies and to audit the spending of such funds. In addition, Maloney issued the following statement:
"Every unprocessed DNA kit represents a victim who has been denied justice. It's disappointing to see continuing backlogs of untested DNA evidence kits, but we need more information about the extent of the problem,” Maloney said.
“It would be outrageous if the backlogs are the result of the Department of Justice's negligent administration of the Debbie Smith Grant Program. However, if the backlog is partly the result of the increased use of DNA testing as an investigative and prosecutorial tool, then that is a kind of step forward and I would look forward to working in the next Congress and with the new administration to increase funding for DNA tests,” she continued.
“If the backlogs are the result of local agencies not making DNA testing a priority, then the victims of rape are being further victimized and criminals remain on the streets,” Maloney said.
"Whatever the cause, I’ll work to identify the steps needed to build managerial benchmarks into the next round of authorizing legislation that will ensure that DNA testing monies flow from Washington-- and that the funds are actually spent on reducing the backlogs in local police departments," she concluded.