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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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."