DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of Meeting
December 11, 2012

The meeting convened at 2:10 p.m. Present at the meeting were Michael Wolf, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection-Forensic Laboratory (DESPP); Angela Przech, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Karen Gabianelli, DESPP; Janet Ainsworth, DESPP; Karl Lewis, Department of Correction (DOC); Wanda White-Lewis, DOC; David Maiga, DOC; Karen Goodrow, Connecticut Innocence Project; Lynn Wittenbrink, Attorney General’s Office; Robert Dearington, Attorney General’s Office; and Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

The minutes of the meeting of September 18, 2012, were accepted.

Dr. Przech was introduced as the interim technical leader of the DNA section of the lab and Ms. Johannes was introduced as the interim state administrator for CODIS. Ms. Johannes provided a status report for the lab.

Ms. Johannes reported that all external FBI QAS audits have been closed out and that all remediation required as a result of the internal ASCLAD-LAB audit conducted in September have been completed. She noted that an internal FBI QAS audit is scheduled to commence on December 13 and be completed by the end of the year.

Ms. Johannes reported that a new director, Dr. Guy Vallaro, has been hired for the lab and that he is due to start on December 28. Two scientists hired under three-year durational positions have completed training and have begun processing casework.

Dr. Przech reported that the use of EZ1 extraction robots for processing known samples is under way and that approval for the use of the robots with forensic samples is anticipated to occur in the next month. She reported that validation of a new test kit, Identifiler Plus and another robot to be used in processing database samples, the Biomek 3000, are ongoing. She indicated that test kits have been purchased using the 2012 backlog reduction grant but that major equipment acquisitions, including four EZ1 extraction robots, are awaiting approval of the new director.

Dr. Przech and Ms. Johannes reported that collection kits are in extremely short supply and that difficulties negotiating contractual issues have impeded the process of purchasing more. Because the kits have been customized through the vendor to meet the lab’s needs, a failure to resolve the contractual issues could result in a significant delay in getting replacements from another vendor. Replacing the kits currently used with new kits would involve a lengthy validation process.

Ms. Johannes reported that the processing room in Phase III is now operational and that the construction of two additional exam rooms has been completed. The exam rooms are being stocked with supplies and should be available for use in the next day or so.

As of November 30, 2012, approximately 93,370 convicted offender samples have been submitted to the lab; that number has not been corrected for duplicates. Of these samples, 89,124 have been profiled and are resident in CODIS. There are 4,624 profiles in the Forensic Index.

As of November 30, 2012, there are 5,172 requests for examination that have not been assigned to an examiner. The actual number of cases that are affected, however, is smaller as multiple requests for examination can be made in a single case. The lab continues to work with the submitting agencies and the State’s Attorneys’ offices to identify cases that no longer require DNA analysis. Initial efforts in this regard have been successful in reducing the backlog.

The lab also reported that 1,982 investigations have been aided so far based on 1,904 confirmed hits. Approximately 40 candidate matches are under evaluation.

Court Support Services Division (CSSD) reported that from July 2012 through September 2012, they scheduled 611 appointments to obtain DNA samples from persons placed on probation and that they were able to collect 492 samples, which is a collection rate of 80.5 percent. CSSD reported that in 354 non-probation cases they still needed to obtain samples from 131 individuals. CSSD prepared 21 new memos to DOC asking them to obtain samples for those who were incarcerated. CSSD also submitted 35 new warrants for the refusal to submit to the taking of a DNA sample to the State Police.

DOC reported that they took 564 samples in the last quarter and have taken 2,026 in the year. The number of persons who have refused to provide a sample has decreased by twelve to 278. DOC is still working on protocol to take samples by force when necessary. 

Karen Gabianelli of DESPP reported that they are still awaiting personnel to assist in their duties.

Karen Goodrow of Connecticut’s Innocence Project reported no new developments.

The Committee went into executive session at 2:51 p.m. At 2:59 a.m. the meeting came out of executive session. As a result of actions taken during the executive session, sample 12-11-12A will be purged from the database. Samples 12-11-12B and 12-11-12C will be held pending further action.

At 3:11 p.m. the meeting was adjourned.

The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for March 12, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.