DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel - December 13, 2016

DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel

Minutes of the Meeting of December 13, 2016
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Forensic Science Laboratory
Meriden, Connecticut

The meeting convened at 9:41 a.m. Present were Carll Ladd, DESPP-Forensic Lab, Patricia Johannes, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Dahong Sun, DESPP-Forensic Lab; Janet Ainsworth, DESPP- Legal; Michael Aiello, Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD); Elizabeth Tugie, Department of Correction; Darcy McGraw, CT Innocence Project; and Michael Gailor, Office of the Chief State's Attorney (OCSA).

The minutes of the meeting on September 13, 2016 were unanimously approved.

The lab reported that as of November 30, 2016, approximately 115,695 convicted offender samples have been submitted to the lab. Of these samples, 107,779 have been profiled and reside in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Approximately 1054 convicted offender samples are waiting to be processed/entered into CODIS. The number of samples waiting to be processed has increased since the last meeting because the lab stopped processing the samples until validation of new kits and training of personnel in the use of those kits was completed, which it now is. 

There are 10,114 profiles in the Forensic Index. One thousand three hundred incomplete cases are assigned to DNA and 367 are assigned to Forensic Biology.

The lab reported that 3,853 investigations have been aided so far based on 4,029 confirmed hits. Approximately 14 candidate matches are under evaluation. The average time it takes to send out notification of the hit once it has been obtained is approximately fourteen days.

The lab reported that validation studies related to the use of kits designed to collect information at 23 loci have been completed and that the kits are currently being used.

While the numbers were not available at the time of the meeting, Michael Aiello from the Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division, later reported that, from July 2016 – September 2016, Judicial sent out 318 letters in cases where persons were sentenced to a period of probation directing the individuals to appear and submit to the taking of a sample. During that same time period they collected 413 samples from persons sentenced to a period of probation. The Judicial Department reported that of the 210 persons convicted of a qualifying offense who were sentenced to something other than probation and were directed to submit to the taking of a sample 83, or 40%, still needed to provide a sample. The Judicial Department sent 14 memos to the Department of Correction asking them to collect samples.

Elizabeth Tugie of the Department of Correction reported that they have collected 1593 samples over the course of the year and that 134 inmates have refused to provide a sample.

Darcy McGraw reported that the Innocence Project, Lab, and Division of Criminal Justice have tentatively been approved to receive a grant to review, and perhaps conduct DNA examination in, cases in which hair comparison testimony was used. Final approval of the grant is pending.

While he was unable to attend the meeting, Sgt. Matthew Garcia of the DESPP reported that the Sex Offender Registry unit collected 373 samples between January 1, 2016, and December 19, 2016, including 363 from new offenders and 10 from persons who were supposed to have provided samples but had not done so previously. The Sex Offender Registry unit also collected an additional 6 samples from other individuals. The unit prepared 28 warrants for persons who failed to provide samples. Sgt. Garcia also reported that the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry unit obtained 22 DNA samples from persons required to register with the unit.

The Committee went into executive session at 10:13 a.m. during which the following actions were taken:

  • 12/13/16-A Committee approved destruction of the sample
  • 1/12/16-A Committee approved purging of information from databank
  • 12/13/16-B Committee approved purging of information from databank upon verification by Judicial that person had no qualifying convictions. Judicial did confirm such.
  • 12/13/16-C Held pending further investigation
  • 12/13/16-D Held pending further investigation

At 10:23 a.m., the Committee came out of executive session and, after the results of the discussions in executive session were placed on the record, the meeting was adjourned.

At 10:24 a.m., the meeting was adjourned. The 2017 meetings of the Oversight Committee were scheduled for March 14, 2016; June 13, 2016; September 12, 2016; and December 12, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. at the Forensic Science Laboratory.