DNA DataBank Oversight Panel

DRAFT Minutes of Meeting
September 9, 2014
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Laboratory
Meriden, Connecticut

The meeting convened at 9:40 a.m. Present at the meeting were Carll Ladd, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP)-Forensic Laboratory, Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Laboratory; Dahong Sun, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Megan Olt, DESPP-Forensic Laboratory; Antoinette Webster, DESPP-Legal; Matthew Garcia, DESPP; Michael Aiello, Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD); Karl Lewis, Department of Correction (DOC); Lynn Wittenbrink, Office of the Attorney General; Robert Dearington, Office of the Attorney General; Darcy McGraw, Connecticut Innocence Project; Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; and Brian Carlow as a member of the public.

The minutes of the meeting of June 10, 2014, were reviewed and accepted.    

On behalf of the laboratory, Ms. Johannes reported that as of September 5, 2014, approximately 104,031 convicted offender samples (the number has not been corrected for duplicates) have been submitted to the lab. Of these samples, 99,257 (up 1267 from the last report) have been profiled and reside in CODIS. The backlog of convicted offender samples waiting to be processed has decreased to 192. There are 6,431 profiles in the Forensic Index.

The lab reported that 2790 investigations have been aided so far based on 2744 confirmed hits. Approximately 10 candidate matches are under evaluation.

The lab further reported that there are approximately 1088 incomplete cases in LIMS assigned to the DNA Section.  

The lab reported that it has begun searching the state and national databanks biweekly. It also reported that it has completed an audit of the hits obtained since the databank became operational and that it plans on doing similar audits more frequently in the future. 

It was announced that Carll Ladd has been named the technical leader of the DNA section of the lab. Mr. Ladd indicated the lab is evaluating a technology which will allow a preliminary determination of whether there is sufficient DNA to warrant further testing to be made at a much cheaper cost. He also reported that CODIS is going to be mandating that new loci be added to the profiles entered in the system in the future. The lab currently is evaluating kits that can be used when the change is made. 

The Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD) reported that from April, 2014 to June, 2014, they scheduled 533 appointments to obtain DNA samples and that they were able to collect 427 samples which is a collection rate of approximately 80 percent. They reported 222 profiles were obtained from other sources. CSSD reported that in 274 non-probation cases they needed to obtain samples from 111 individuals, approximately 41%. CSSD sent 29 memos to the Department of Correction asking them to collect samples and submitted 13 new warrants for the refusal to submit to the taking of a DNA sample to the State Police. 

Matthew Garcia, DESPP, Sex Offender Registry Unit, reported that the unit is working on preparing warrants for the cases submitted by CSSD.

The Department of Correction reported that they obtained 671 new samples since the last meeting and 1771 in the year to date. The number of inmates who have refused to provide a sample is 251.  

Darcy McGraw from the CT Innocence Project reported that they are winding down work on an earlier grant, which will be completed on September 30. She reported that there are approximately 10 cases that need to be finished up and that she will consult with the appropriate parties to determine how those cases will be handled. She reported that she had spoken with Kevin Kane, Chief State’s Attorney, and Leonard Boyle, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney, about the need for a conviction integrity unit in the State’s Attorney’s office in Connecticut. 

A discussion regarding how to handle hits obtained from individuals whose profiles were entered into the databank with the belief that they had a qualifying conviction when, in fact, they did not was tabled so that further research could be conducted. 

The Committee went into executive session at 10:52 a.m. At 11:05 a.m. the Committee came out of executive session. As a result of discussion during the executive session, the following actions will be taken:

  -  Sample 9/9/14-A will be purged.  -  Sample 9/9/14-B will be held pending further action. -  Sample 9/9/14-C will be purged. -  Sample 9/9/14-D will be held pending further action. -  Sample 9/9/14-E will be held for more investigation. -  Sample 9/9/14-F will be held pending further action.    

At 11:06, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Oversight Committee was scheduled for December 9, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.