DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel
Minutes of the Meeting of September 12, 2017
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Forensic Science Laboratory
(Amended by a vote at the December 12, 2017, meeting)
The meeting convened at 9:35 a.m. Present at the meeting were Dahong Sun, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Forensic Lab; Carll Ladd, DESPP-Forensic Lab, Kristin Sasinouski, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Megan Olt, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Janet Ainsworth, DESPP-Legal; Michael Aiello, Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD); Elizabeth Tugie, Department of Correction (DOC), David Maiga, DOC; Nicole Anker, DOC; Mark Bonventura, DOC; Darcy McGraw, Connecticut Innocence Project; Trooper First Class Deb Jeney, DESPP, Sexual Offender Registry Unit; Robert Dearington, Office of the Attorney General; and Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State's Attorney (OCSA).
The minutes of the meeting on June 13, 2017, were unanimously approved with a notation that the number of cases noted as assigned to forensic biology in the report should be corrected to read 710.
The lab reported that as of August 31, 2017, approximately 118,687 convicted offender samples have been submitted to the lab; 987 were submitted between June 1 and August 31 of this year. Of these samples, 6743 were determined to be duplicate submissions. One hundred ten thousand nine hundred sixty-nine have been profiled and reside in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Approximately 921 convicted offender samples are waiting to be processed/entered into CODIS.
There are 11,248 profiles in the Forensic Index. One thousand nine hundred twenty-one incomplete cases are assigned to DNA and 1112 are assigned to Forensic Biology.
The lab reported that 4,505 investigations have been aided so far by 4,530 confirmed hits. Approximately 56 candidate matches are under evaluation. The average time it takes to send out notification of the hit once it has been obtained has been reduced to ten days.
The Judicial Branch reported that from April through June 2017, it sent 368 letters scheduling the collection of DNA samples to individuals who had been sentenced to a period of probation and 187 "warning" letters to persons who did not respond to the initial letters. It collected 352 samples from individuals on probation. During that period of time, 211 people were convicted of qualifying offenses but were not sentenced to periods of probation. Of that number 77 or 36% needed to provide DNA samples. The Judicial Branch sent 18 memos to the Department of Correction seeking its assistance in collecting DNA samples and no warrants to the State Police. It is anticipated that CSSD’s new case management system now will improve the efficiency of the collection process by allowing letters to be sent out much earlier.
The Department of Correction reported that it has drawn 1,209 samples from inmates this year and from 479 in the last quarter. They have 157 pending draws. Currently, 135 inmates have refused to provide a sample in violation of the statutes. The DOC is working on a policy to obtain the samples by force if necessary and hope to have the policy in place soon.
The Sex Offender Registration Unit of DESPP reported that it obtained samples from 88 sex offenders, 13 individuals who registered in the deadly weapons offender registry, and 6 felony offenders since the beginning of the year. The unit also reported that it has prepared 14 new warrants for persons who refused to provide a sample.
Darcy McGraw from the Innocence Project reported, and the lab confirmed, that the lab will soon be hiring someone to work on the grant to review cases in which convictions were obtained on the basis of microscopic hair examination. It is anticipated that both the Innocence Project and the Division of Criminal Justice will be enlisting people to work on the grant in the near future. Attorney McGraw also reported that the Division of Criminal Justice has agreed to further lab testing in two cases identified under previous grants.
The Committee went into executive session at 10:00 a.m. The Committee came out of executive session at 10:18 a.m. As a result of the discussions in executive session the following is reported:
- Sample 9/12/17-A no action was taken.
- Sample 9/12/17-B no action was taken.
- Sample 9/12/17-C discussion of sample was tabled for the time being.
- Sample 9/12/17-D A first sample will be destroyed.
At 10:19 a.m., the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for December 12, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.