DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of meeting of March 11, 2020
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory
Meriden, Connecticut

The meeting convened at 9:33 a.m. Present at the meeting were Janet Ainsworth (Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) – Legal Affairs), Amy Bepko (Division of Criminal Justice), Carll Ladd (DESPP – Forensic Laboratory), David Maiga (Department of Correction), Jason Gaudet (Department of Correction), Megan Olt (DESPP – Forensic Laboratory), Patricia Johannes (DESPP – Forensic Laboratory), and Michael Gailor (State’s Attorney – Middlesex Judicial District).

The minutes of the December 10, 2019, Oversight Panel meeting were unanimously approved. 

The Forensic Laboratory reported that 831 convicted offender samples have been submitted to the lab between December 1, 2019, and March 1, 2020, making a total of 127,424 convicted offender samples received at the lab since as of March 1, 2020. Of these samples, 7,083 were determined to be duplicate submissions. One hundred nineteen thousand, seven hundred and forty-one have been profiled and reside in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Approximately 245 convicted offender samples are waiting to be processed/entered into CODIS.

There are 15,391 evidentiary profiles in the Forensic Index as of March 1, 2020. One thousand five hundred and seventy-five incomplete cases are assigned to the DNA Unit and 157 are assigned to Forensic Biology. 

The lab reported that 6,604 investigations have been aided at this time by 6,683 confirmed hits. Approximately 87 candidate matches are under evaluation. The average time it takes to send out notification of the hit once it has been obtained is 21 days.

The Judicial Branch was not represented at the meeting but did report their statistics shortly afterward. From October through December 2019 the Judicial Branch sent 453 initial and warning letters to individuals who were sentenced to probation to remind them of their obligation to provide DNA samples. The Judicial Branch collected 308 samples. In 149 cases where probation was not imposed, Judicial sent letters to 97 individuals in an attempt to collect samples.  Judicial sent 16 memoranda to the Department of Correction advising of the need to collect samples and sought 14 warrants for the failure of individuals to provide samples. 

The Sexual Offender Registry Unity was not represented at the meeting but did report after the fact that since January 1, 2020, the unit obtained 23 samples, which included new sexual offenders as well as offenders who came in to the registry to update their information and did not have a sample on record. The unit submitted no warrants for individuals who failed to provide samples during this reporting period. The unit is currently working with DESPP and DAS to revise the warrant process. 

The Department of Correction reported that it collected 373 samples from inmates in the last quarter. There are currently 109 inmates who have refused to provide a sample in violation of the Connecticut General Statutes. There are 118 inmates pending to submit their sample. 

At 9:54 a.m. the Oversight Committee went into executive session until 9:56 a.m. As a result of what occurred in executive session, the sample “3/11/2020–A” was ordered destroyed and information about the person who provided it purged. 

The committee also discussed potential topics for future legislation which would not be introduced in this short session. 

The committee also preliminarily discussed the potential implications for the Data Bank should either of the two erasure bills being proposed in the 2020 legislative session be enacted. Specifically, that No. 403 would impact the Data Bank as a result of C, D, E, and Unclassified Felonies (FEL/U punishable by not more than ten years of incarceration), subject to erasure by operation of law under the bill.    

The meeting was adjourned at 10:22 a.m. 

The next quarterly DNA Data Bank Oversight Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, 2020, beginning at 9:30 a.m.