A broad coalition of public safety and women’s organizations is waiting to see if Governor Jerry Brown will sign AB 1517, ground-breaking legislation that would establish timelines for law enforcement to forward rape kits to labs and for labs to process rape kits and enter DNA profile information into the Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS.
This legislation received unanimous, bi-partisan support on the floors of both the State Assembly and State Senate.
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, author of AB 1517, authored this op-ed piece in the Contra Costa Times, published on Saturday, September 20:
Gov. Jerry Brown can put California at the national forefront of efforts to prioritize testing sexual assault evidence, getting DNA from so-called “rape kits” into a national database rather than languishing in law enforcement evidence rooms.
When a survivor of sexual assault agrees to undergo a forensic exam, his or her body is the crime scene. It is painstakingly examined in a process that can take six hours or more and results in collection of evidence that is commonly referred to as a “rape kit.”
Although any survivor would reasonably expect a rape kit to be analyzed and the DNA extracted for timely entry into the CODIS national database, reality has proved disappointing: 17,000 untested kits discovered by New York City; 12,000 in Los Angeles County; thousands more in Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis. Read more.