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California attorney general says DNA backlog is gone

January 25, 2012 |  1:25 pm

Kamala Harris
The California Department of Justice will be able to analyze routine DNA evidence in only 30 days, up to four times faster than before, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced Wednesday. 

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

Officials whittled down the backlog by shifting cases among the state’s seven crime labs that handle DNA testing. In addition, robotics helped reduce part of the process for analyzing sexual assault evidence from two days to two hours.

Last year the labs analyzed 5,400 evidence samples, up from 4,800 in 2010 and 4,100 in 2009, according to the department. The state is responsible for processing DNA evidence for prosecutions in 47 of California's 58 counties. 

The state's crime labs came under increasing pressure in January 2009, when Proposition 69 began requiring authorities to collect DNA samples from any adult arrested for a felony. But Jill Spriggs, who oversees the state forensic system, said that backlog is also gone. 

“That’s been eliminated for almost a year now,” she said.

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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento 

twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris at a news conference in December. Credit: Paui Sakuma / Associated Press

That’s been eliminated for almost a year now.”
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