DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of Meeting
September 18, 2012

The meeting convened at 9:37 a.m. Present at the meeting were: Kenneth Zercie, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP)-Forensic Lab; Carll Ladd, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Michael Bourke, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Melanie Russell, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Karen Gabianelli, DESPP; Henri Alexandre, DESPP; Janet Ainsworth, DESPP; George Camp, Department of Correction (DOC); Karl Lewis, DOC; Michael Aiello, Court Support Services Division (CSSD); Michael Peloso, CSSD; Karen Goodrow, Connecticut’s Innocence Project; Robert Dearington, Attorney General’s Office; Michael Pepper, New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office; and Michael Gailor, Chief State’s Attorney’s Office.

The minutes of the meeting of June 12, 2012, were accepted.

Dr. Bourke reported that as of February 7, 2012, the laboratory was again accredited with ASCLD-LAB and that CODIS participation in NDIS has been reinstated.

Dr. Bourke reported that all monies awarded to the state under a 2009 grant have been expended and that the state has been awarded monies under a 2012 backlog reduction grant. All grant funded DNA personnel were converted to regular state funds on June 29, 2012. Four three-year durational state funded positions have been filled. One position was filled internally by promoting a laboratory technician to analyst. Of the remaining three hirees, one has completed training and the other two will complete training within a few weeks. The DNA section also has gained one part time office assistant and two part time paid intern positions.

Dr. Bourke reported that an external FBI QAS audit was completed May 29-31with only a few nonscientific findings having been made. Remediation for all of the findings has been forwarded to the NDIS Audit Review Panel for review.

Validation of the Minifiler kit is complete and the DNA typing kit is now in use. Validation of two models of extraction robots has been completed for known samples. Validation is under way to expand the use of the robots to forensic samples.

There is a slight lag in the processing of offender samples as the robot used to process offender samples has been out of order for three of the last five weeks.

As of August 31, 2012, approximately 92,000 convicted offender samples have been submitted to the lab. Of these samples 87,813 have been profiled and are resident in CODIS.

As of August 31, 2012, at least 4,634 forensic cases are backlogged waiting DNA processing and the number is still rising. That number does not include a number of lesser cases that were not deemed priority cases. The lab is working with the State’s Attorneys’ offices and the submitting agencies to identify lesser felony cases that the agencies can forbear processing.

George Camp from the Department of Correction indicated that DOC has taken 634 samples since the last meeting and 1,462 this year. There are still 290 people in DOC custody that have refused to provide samples.

Court Support Services Division reported that it collected 2,248 samples in the last year, or approximately 187 per month. CSSD also reported that of the 1,570 individuals who were required to provide samples in connection with sentences for which the person received neither probation nor incarceration, 630 did not submit samples. CSSD has requested the issuance of arrest warrants for 69 people who did not submit to the taking of a sample.

Karen Gabianelli of DESPP reported that due to limited personnel and other priorities the Department has not done any warrants for DNA refusals recently.

Karen Goodrow of Connecticut’s Innocence Project reported that the agencies funded under the grant are working to rearrange the funds so that they can be better utilized.

A discussion was had regarding a request by a person charged with a crime for information in the Databank. Specifically, the defendant requested information regarding profiles that were reviewed but were determined not to match the profile generated from an evidentiary sample. The members of the Committee unanimously agreed that the lab could and should not disclose the information.

The Committee thanked Ken Zercie for his work as Director of the Lab and his years of state service.

The Committee went into executive session at 10:26 a.m. At 10:59 a.m. the meeting came out of executive session. As a result of action taken in the session, the lab will report that no sample was obtained from E-1. The lab will expunge samples from E-2 and E-3 upon receipt of the appropriate paperwork and confirmation of the paperwork by the OCSA and DESPP. As to samples 9-18-2012, no action will be taken at this time. After consideration of additional information, the Committee reaffirmed its approval of the decision of the lab not to disclose information regarding profiles that were not the subject of a match.

At 11:02 a.m., the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for December 11, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.