Forensic DNA analysis is one of the most valuable tools we have to combat crime. Recent reports from the National Academy of Sciences have underscored this fact. Yet those same reports have also revealed that most of the forensic techniques used daily around our country, including fingerprinting, firearms identification, and hair fiber analysis, actually lack sufficient support in science. This is a major problem. Bad forensic techniques result in false convictions and leave the real criminals on the streets.
Shockingly, we aren’t doing enough to take advantage of the strength of DNA evidence. We need to use what works and fix what doesn’t. For example, according to recent reports there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in crime labs and evidence rooms throughout the country – hundreds in Minneapolis alone. With today’s technology, rape kits can be processed in as little as a week, so there’s no reason why each kit can’t be tested in a timely manner.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee I will support efforts to ensure that DNA evidence is tested whenever possible, and invest time and money to make sure all of our other techniques can be as reliable as possible.