DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of Meeting
June 18, 2013
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Laboratory
Meriden, Connecticut

The meeting convened at 9:40 a.m. Present at the meeting were Guy Vallaro, Director, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP)-Forensic Lab; Angela Przech, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Antoinette M. Webster, DESPP; Janet Ainsworth, DESPP; Karen Gabianelli, DESPP; David Maiga, Department of Correction (DOC); Wanda White-Lewis; DOC; and Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

The minutes of the meeting of March 12, 2013, were reviewed and accepted.

On behalf of the laboratory, Ms. Johannes reported that remediation responses to action items identified during an NDIS assessment of the CT DNA database on February 26 and 27, 2013 were completed by April 22, 2013. On May 8, 2013, a letter was received from the NDIS Custodian stating that our laboratory was in compliance with federal law and procedures governing NDIS. She also reported that on June 10-13, 2013, and external QAS audit of the DNA section was conducted by NFSTC. One finding regarding the database has already been remediated.

Ms. Johannes reported that as of May 31, 2013, approximately 96,470 convicted offender samples (the number has not been corrected for duplicates) have been submitted to the lab. Of these samples, 93,046 (up 2064 from the last report) have been profiled and are resident in CODIS. The backlog of convicted offender samples waiting to be processed has been reduced by 2,758 to 1,055. There are 4,787 profiles in the Forensic Index.

The lab reported that 2,016 investigations have been aided so far based on 1,941 confirmed hits. Approximately 58 candidate matches are under evaluation. As of May 31, 2013, 3,240 cases are awaiting testing while an additional 1,396 cases are being reviewed to determine whether DNA testing is necessary. The additional cases were identified through a review of cases in which review was completed by Forensic Biology but testing was not done by the DNA section.

The new test kit, Identifiler Plus, and the EZ1 extraction robots are on-line and being used in casework.

CSSD reported that from October 2012 through December 2012, they scheduled 742 appointments to obtain DNA samples and that they were able to collect 583 samples which is a collection rate of approximately 78 percent. They obtained 270 samples from other sources. CSSD reported that in 314 non-probation cases they still needed to obtain samples from 120 individuals. CSSD submitted 38 new warrants for the refusal to submit to the taking of a DNA sample to the State Police. For the 2012 year, CSSD scheduled 2831 appointments to collect samples and collected samples from 2211, or 78 percent, of the individuals. CSSD collected 1,496 samples from other sources. CSSD reported that they are attempting to get new kits for the taking of samples but have been unable to do so yet. They expect to get some before the end of the month and will be short if they don’t get them in time.

DOC reported that they took 753 samples since the last meeting and 1,146 in 2013 altogether. The number of persons who have refused to provide a sample has decreased by five to 269.

Karen Gabianelli of DESPP reported that she is being transferred and someone will be assigned to take her place. The Committee thanked Karen for her work and wished her well.

Discussion was had about the impact of recent court cases on the work of the Oversight Committee. In light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Maryland upholding the taking of DNA samples from arrestees efforts to work with Judicial to ensure that the lab receives notice of the disposition of cases involving individuals who had samples taken at the time of arrest will be prioritized. Note was taken of two decisions by the state Appellate Court, State v. Drakes and State v. Banks, holding that the use of force by the Department of Correction to take samples from individuals who are required to submit to the taking of a sample is permissible even for those individuals who were convicted of a felony prior to the statute being made applicable to all persons convicted of felonies. No steps will be taken to obtain samples from these two specific individuals at this point as they have expressed an intention to petition for certiorari to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Discussion was had regarding establishing a procedure whereby the lab could correct obvious errors or remove obviously inaccurate information from the databank without formal approval of the Oversight Committee at a quarterly meeting. It was unanimously agreed that the lab should have the authority to remove such data on a provisional basis until formal approval could be obtained from the Oversight Committee. Representatives of the lab will draft a procedure for dealing with such situations which will be disseminated to all members of the Committee for approval.

It was reported that two of the three profiles the Innocence Project had requested be removed from the databank have been removed. The third profile had never been entered into the databank and, thus, no action was necessary.

The Committee went into executive session at 10:47 a.m. At 10:51 a.m. the Committee came out of executive session. As a result of discussion during the executive session, further review will be conducted of matter 6-18-A.

At 10:52, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for September 10, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.