TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A House Republican has filed a proposal that could help speed up testing of DNA evidence in new sexual-assault cases and also would address a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.
Rep. Janet Adkins, from Fernandina Beach, filed the proposal little more than a week after Attorney General Pam Bondi said thousands of rape kits have gone untested across the state.
Adkins’ bill would set a maximum 21-day time frame for DNA evidence collected in sexual-assault investigations to be submitted to a statewide criminal-analysis laboratory system.
It also would direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by Oct. 1, 2016, to submit a plan for analyzing untested evidence that is currently in the lab system. The analysis of the evidence would need to be finished by June 30, 2017.
Bondi, who is seeking an increase in funding for crime labs, said analyzing the untested DNA evidence could help law enforcement solve cold cases and catch sexual predators. Rep. Janet Cruz, from Tampa, also filed a bill this week seeking new policies and additional money for processing evidence in alleged sexual assault cases.