The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is facing a major backlog in their crime labs. Last week, they confirmed that throughout the state, there are more than 10,000 rape kits sitting in evidence rooms that have yet to be tested, and this is not even the final count. The actual amount of cases in the backlog, which was initially suspected to be somewhere in the thousands, will be confirmed next month as part of a survey identifying the full and unexpected scope of the problem.
Assistant Commissioner Jennifer C. Pritt admitted that some of these kits even existed prior to DNA analysis, revealing that some of them are up to 25 years old. How these kits have come to have been neglected for this long is still being analyzed, but the backup is likely linked to deficiencies in funding and resources. To outsource all of the untested kits would cost FDLE’s crime lab system approximately $9 million. Combined with frequent employee turnover and an increase in workloads, testing has fallen by the wayside.
The state currently does not require that all rape kits be tested; rather, local law enforcement agencies are responsible for determining which kits are sent to the crime lab. The DNA evidence contained in these kits could potentially impact thousands of yet-unsolved sexual assault cases and may also help law enforcement solve other unrelated cases.
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami, FL
Evidence that it improperly handled or stored can compromise its validity and admissibility in court. If you are facing criminal charges, an attorney at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed if there is a lack of valid evidence to link you to the crime you are being accused of. Each case is different, so speak with a Miami criminal defense lawyer at our firm. After thoroughly investigating your case, we can put together a strategy aimed at protecting your rights, freedoms, and future.