There are serious consequences when state and federal governments don’t put enough money into DNA testing. Need evidence? Just look at Detroit.
In Detroit, a backlog of rape kits uncovered four years ago was finally processed, leading to the identification of 100 serial rapists. More than 11,000 unprocessed rape kits were found in a police storage facility in 2009, with some of the kits dating back to the 1980s. Detroit’s WXYZ reports that 1,600 of the newly discovered rape kits have been processed so far.
The backlog of unprocessed rape kits in the U.S. is shocking. Law enforcement officials use rape kits — which include a DNA test — to determine whether someone has been sexually assaulted.
As National Journal‘s Brian Resnick reported in August, crime labs have an enormous backlog of biological evidence, including rape kits. This is because the U.S. doesn’t have enough genetic-testing equipment to meet the high demand for DNA processing.
Mariska Hargitay, the actress who plays a detective in Law and Order: SVU, is producing a documentary about the backlog problem. She’s also helping Michigan lawmakers promote legislation that would set deadlines for rape kits to be processed.
At the national level, the Justice Department estimates that 400,000 rape kits have been left unprocessed. Vice President Joe Biden, a vocal advocate against sexual assault, has also spoken out about the backlog, and the White House is now devoting $35 million of the 2015 budget to rape-kit processing.
DeShawn Starks — one of the rapists newly identified by Detroit police — was found to have raped two women in two separate incidents in 2003. Both rape kits were left unprocessed, and 10 years later, Starks raped two more women. He has now been sentenced to 45 to 90 years in prison.
DNA testing may be costly, but the price of leaving rape kits unprocessed can be far costlier.
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"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.