Senator Corbett's Urgent Audit Request of Untested Rape Kits Backlog Approved

March 12, 2014

Bipartisan Support for Audit in Joint Legislative Audit Committee Today

SACRAMENTO –Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East Bay) is pleased to report that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) today approved an audit of the nature and extent of the untested rape kits backlog in California.

The audit requested by Senator Corbett will include an assessment of 3 to 5 California counties with an ultimate goal of:

·    Determining how funding provided to clear DNA evidence backlogs is being used;
·    Analyzing local law enforcement and crime laboratory policies and practices for prioritizing the analysis of rape kits;
·    Recommending statutory or regulatory changes.

Unfortunately, the full extent of the rape kit backlog in California remains unknown since no standardized reporting structure currently exists. 

“Throughout my legislative career—and even before—I have been a strong advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, authoring several bills since my early years in the Assembly standing up for the rights of victims,” said Senator Corbett.  “I am pleased that JLAC today approved this long overdue audit of the existing untested rape kits backlog in various California counties.  As cities across the country, including Los Angeles, have shown when previously untested rape kits are analyzed, sexual crime assailants are oftentimes identified due to the DNA evidence that is found in those rape kits.  Victims deserve to have their rape kits analyzed promptly to ensure that their cases can be prosecuted as quickly as possible.  An audit of the rape kit testing system in California is long overdue and this review will hopefully shed light on the backlog and potential solutions for permanently ending it.”

The California State Auditor will select counties from throughout California of varying sizes, demographics and geographical location to ensure a representative sample.  The independent and objective audit will be conducted over the next several months and the Auditor will issue a public report once the analysis is complete.