P.L. 110-360, The Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2008
- This item is from the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and is no longer current. Comments, voting, and wiki editing have been disabled, and the cost/savings estimate has been frozen.
H.R. 5057 would reauthorize the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program.
== Detailed Summary ==
Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2008 - (Sec. 2) Amends the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to: (1) require state and local governments to implement a process for the collection of DNA samples from all felons in their prisons for inclusion in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); (2) allow use of grant funds for DNA analyses of samples from missing or unidentified persons; and (3) increase and extend the authorization of appropriations for such Act for FY2010-FY2014.
(Sec. 3) Expresses the sense of Congress that as a result of the DNA analysis backlog violent crimes remain unsolved and wrongfully convicted individuals have not been determined to be innocent. Requires the National Academy of Sciences to study and report to the Attorney General and Congress on the resources and other requirements necessary to eliminate the backlog and to prevent a backlog from reoccurring. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009.
(Sec. 4) Authorizes federal matching funds for states that have implemented a permanent mechanism for funding analysis of DNA samples for law enforcement purposes. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013.
(Sec. 5) Requires the Attorney General to evaluate annually and report to Congress on the integrity and security of DNA collection and storage practices and procedures at a sample of U.S. crime laboratories to determine the extent of tampering with or contamination of such samples. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2015.
(Sec. 6) Increases by 10% grant funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for states that institute a process for the collection of DNA samples from individuals arrested for certain crimes, including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, and crimes against minors. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013.
(Sec. 7) Requires the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to study and report to Congress on the use by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors of database matches of DNA samples with samples in CODIS.
(Sec. 8) Directs the Attorney General to establish the National DNA Index System Advisory Board to develop and revise standards and requirements for the use of and access to the National DNA Index.
(Sec. 9) Directs the Attorney General to make grants to states and local governments to purchase or to improve forensic DNA technology. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013.
(Sec. 10) Amends the Justice For All Act of 2004 to to reauthorize through FY2014 grant programs for: (1) DNA training and education for law enforcement and corrections personnel and court officers; (2) the sexual assault forensic exam program; (3) DNA research and development; and (4) DNA identification of missing persons.
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== Status of the Legislation ==
Latest Major Action:
9/27/2008: Cleared for White House.
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== Points in Favor ==
Findings and Purpose of the original bill:
1) Every 2 minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
(2) The Department of Justice reports that in the year 2000, there were an estimated 261,000 rapes and sexual assaults.
(3) The annual National Crime Victimization study consistently finds that only about one-third of rapes in the United States are reported.
(4) According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the Department of Justice, in the year 2000, 34 percent of female victims of rape or sexual assault reported that the offender was a stranger.
(5) According to the Department of Justice, DNA evidence is often recovered from crime scenes and can be crucial to the investigation of sexual assaults and other violent crimes.
(6) According to the Department of Justice, the importance of the role forensic DNA evidence plays in solving sexual assault and homicide cases cannot be overstated.
(7) A DNA profile from a crime scene can be entered into the Combined DNA Index System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (known as CODIS), which allows agencies to match DNA profiles with other profiles entered into local, State, and national databases to identify a suspect or link serial crimes.
(8) A 1999 study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice estimated there was an annual backlog of 180,000 rape kits that have not been analyzed, and news reports indicate that the number of rape kits in the backlog may be as high as 500,000.
(9) Law enforcement officials using CODIS have matched unknown DNA evidence taken from crime scenes with known offender DNA profiles in the State and national DNA database 2,371 times.
(10) At least 100 inmates have been cleared and freed to date due to DNA testing.
(11) By convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent, DNA evidence truly serves the interests of justice.
(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to provide adequate funding to ensure that the backlog of unanalyzed rape kits is eliminated.
== Points Against ==
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