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Post Conviction Evidence Challenges William Vosburgh Laboratory Director Metropolitan Police Department Consolidated Forensic Laboratory
So you want to test something? • MONEY! Who is paying for what and how? • Finding evidence often the big problem • Establish stakeholder team: detective, attorneys, crime scene personnel, warehouse manager, evidence coordinator, laboratory • Without computerized case management systems you are chasing file cabinets. • Our Challenge: find everything and account for it. Computerized bar-coded inventory needed: 1 million plus items!!!
Global Approach to Problem • Finding one case • Or solve the global problem • Start with the universe of possibilities • All major crimes for each year by CCN #, Homicides and Rapes. (UCR stats) • Categories: closed, open, conviction, evidence collected, stored, tested? • Spread sheet shared by stakeholders
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly • All crimes per year going back 40 years • Detective case Jacket located • Evidence run book located • Evidence was/was not collected • Go find it (bring a lot of people) • Condition? Intact package • Chain of Custody? • LOST?!
In the Lab • What is most probative? Crime reconstruction • Condition? Previously examined (cut)? • Screen for biological material • May find, may not work: degraded due to storage conditions • Extraction challenges, extended incubations • Low copy number DNA • Results? Do they match known? CODIS • Reporting
Challenges: Got People? • LABOR! Army of interns (from all stakeholders), light duty personnel, hired recruits who aren’t in academy yet, reserve officers, volunteers. • We are all busy! Improve lab throughput by keeping supply of these cases as fillers to a rack of tubes going through the DNA system, special teams, overtime/comp.
Evidence Easter Egg Hunt • Evidence Warehouse, • District Stations storage, • Detective Bureau, • Case files including archives off site, • Prosecutor’s offices, • Courthouse Evidence Rooms, • Retired detectives (attics!)
Drive the bus backwards • If you find some evidence of the type you are looking for (e.g., Rape kits), inventory and go back to detectives, case jackets. • Be methodical and persistent • Communicate regularly with your team, post information on intranet server.
Be persistent • Biggest Challenge is the functional management of people. • Your team must buy in to the mission and be seriously motivated to carry this through. • From stakeholder management to the smallest worker bee, include everyone in the vision for success.