National Law Enforcement Summit on
P R O C E E D I N G S
July 27, 2000
DNA DATABASES: A POWERFUL TOOL FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE 21ST
MR. ASPLEN: Okay, folks. If we could begin with our next panel. We're first going to
hear from Dr. Dwight Adams from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Dwight is currently the Deputy Assistant Director for the FBI laboratory, and it's fair
to say that, you know, if it were not for the Bureau, this DNA database or CODIS would not
exist, that it was through their hard work and their research and their development of the
software that recreated this database that we're able to access this incredibly powerful
Dwight asked that I keep his introduction short, so I will do that. I will thank him
also for his service as a commissioner and simply say that he's from the FBI and he's here
MR. ADAMS (Mr. Adams'
PowerPoint Presentation): Thank you, I think. I'd like to spend just a few minutes,
and it will be just a few minutes.
I noticed my good friend, David Coffman's, number of slides that he brought and it far
exceeds mine, so I'm going to give him a lot of my time, he's going to need it, but I'd
like to spend just a few minutes and speak to you about something you're already aware of,
and that is the power of DNA technology, but I'd also like to venture into the potential
that it has and where you can help that potential be realized.
You've all seen in the newspapers pictures like this where every week or every month
you see newspaper articles that point to DNA evidence and how it helps to convict
You've also seen pictures like this where a man by the name of Kirk Bloodsworth was
exonerated based upon DNA evidence, exonerated after he spent nine years in prison, after
he was convicted twice for the crime of killing and raping a young girl, and this
conviction occurred at the time when DNA evidence was not readily available. So it was
never performed on the evidence in his case until almost a decade later.
This is Kirk Bloodsworth outside the prison at a news conference the day he was let out
following the issuance of a report that same day to the Attorney General in this
So there's no debate, I don't believe, regarding the power of the technology to point
to the guilty as well as to exonerate the innocent.
As Dr. Forman described earlier, we began with a technology called RFLP. That
technology is represented as the slide on the left, and that technology has served us well
since the middle 1980's, and it did exactly what it was designed to do, point to the
guilty and exonerate the innocent.
The newspaper article on the left describes the particular case in Mansfield, Ohio
where twovictims of a rape identified in a lineup the individual pictured there by the
name of Earl Fuller. There was also other circumstantial evidence pointing to Earl Fuller
as the rapist, but after DNA testing was performed in our laboratory on the evidence and
his known blood sample, we showed that Earl Fuller could not have been responsible for
those two rapes, although they were conducted or perpetrated by the same individual.
The police thought that they or we had made a mistake, so they resent another known
blood sample from Earl Fuller. We did it again. It showed the same result. We did it a
third time. It still showed the same result. They believed us finally, and Earl Fuller was
let out of jail.
We ultimately -- the police ultimately identified the right individual, his blood
sample was submitted and that individual was ultimately convicted.
I use this illustration to show the power of the technology again of the approximately
20,000 cases that we've worked in the FBI laboratory using DNA technology. About 25 percent of the time we exclude the suspect as being responsible
for that crime based upon DNA. That's a powerful technology, one that our old serological
techniques of ABO blood groupings and protein markers could not possibly have done.
And as Dr. Forman also mentioned, we are moving into a new generation of technology.
That generation of technology is called STRs, short tandem repeats.
It's a powerful technology because it's PCR based. It's much like a Xerox machine. You
put in a little DNA in one end and out the other end comes millions of copies. That DNA
can be partially degraded as well and it will still work.
So short tandem repeats now allow us to get DNA profiles on evidence that RFLP would
never have allowed us to get a profile on.
One example is cigarette butts. RFLP might allow you to get a result about five percent
of the time. Using STRs it's nearly one hundred percent of the time that you can get a DNA
result from a cigarette butt or an envelope flap or the back of a stamp on an envelope.
I'd next like to talk not only about the power of the technology but its potential, and
its potential is becoming fully realized in the use of CODIS. CODIS stands for the
Combined DNA Index System, a system that was developed by the FBI for your use.
It's a partnership, a partnership between the Federal Government and state and local
governments. It's a partnership in that it was developed by the FBI. A lot of funding has
come through NIJ, through the Department of Justice, for state and local governments to
implement something like this, and it's a partnership between the state and local
governments to upload their samples in to the National DNA Index System.
CODIS can simply be thought of as two separate files. Actually, there's a third that
I'll mention later on in my talk, but for the moment, we'll concentrate on the two files.
It's the offender fileand it's the forensic file.
The offender file contains a DNA profile for convicted offenders from state and local
The forensic file contains a DNA profile from crime scene evidence, crime scene
evidence that has not been matched to any offender, and it's through the use of CODIS that
we attempt to link cases from the offender file to the forensic file or we attempt to link
one unsolved case with another in hopes of putting investigators together on the same
track of the same individual.
Well, first of all, every state that is represented here needs to be congratulated,
congratulated because every state in the United States has enacted legislation requiring
certain convicted felons to submit to DNA testing. Some states require all felons to give
blood samples; other states list particular offenses in which blood samples will be taken
for DNA purposes. It's through these state-offender laws that we build the file known as
the convicted-offender file.
On the other hand, the Federal Government has yet to enact legislation that would allow
us to obtain known blood samples from federally convicted offenders.
Now, we've worked with state and local governments on this issue since the early
1990's, and yet, the Federal Government has been unable at this point to enact legislation
giving us the authority to obtain those same type of samples from persons convicted of
crimes here in the District of Columbia, on military reservations or on other government
reservations throughout the United States.
Well, what is CODIS and how does it work? This slide just very briefly demonstrates the
architecture of CODIS.
CODIS can be found in 114 laboratories across the United States in 43 different states.
There are more laboratories that do DNA testing, but these are the ones that currently
have the software of CODIS in their laboratories.
CODIS, for example, could be within the crime laboratory in Tampa, Florida you see in
the bottom lower left. Tampa, Florida may have and unsolved rape case that they're
working. They get a DNA profile from that unsolved rape case and they can compare it,
using CODIS, to any other unsolved rape case that they have there in their local system.
They can also send that unsolved rape case profile to the state database system for
Florida and ask that the unsolved case be compared against any other unsolved case in
Florida or against all convicted-offender samples that are within the State of Florida.
Then if no matches are found, that sample can be forwarded on to the National DNA Index
System, NDIS, and compared against any state that contains profiles for other unsolved
crimes or for convicted offenders.
Now, currently all 50 states aren't a part of NDIS. Slightly more than half of the
states are currently a part of NDIS, but soon, through the work of the FBI and state
governments, we will have many more states on line nationally.
But suffice it to say that the system is in place, it's a powerful system, but it has
the potential to show and to solve many more crimes throughout the country.
You're going to hear about some of those examples later on by our next two guests. You
can also read about some of those examples in the pamphlet that I've provided in the back
of the room. That pamphlet is entitled CODIS.
Well, how do we measure the success of CODIS? Well, we do so by looking at
Investigations aided is simply one of two forms. Either we've linked two unsolved cases
together, two or more unsolved cases together, or we've linked an unsolved case to a
Now, it's not by happenstance that our next two speakers are from two states, Florida
and Virginia, that are two of the more successful states within the country in
implementing the use of CODIS here in the United States.
If we look at Florida, for example, at least in May of 2000, they had over 300
investigations aided in the short amount of time that the national system has been up and
Likewise, Illinois, Virginia and a few other states have also shown how successful this
system can be in linking cases together or linking cases to suspects in the
The states colored yellow are those states that are currently a part of the National
DNA Index System. Those states that aren't colored yet are working towards becoming part
of the National DNA Index System. So they may still have capabilities within their own
state to compare samples, but they're not linked to the national system as yet.
I know this slide is rather busy, but we'll just concentrate on the far right. That's
the year 1999.
This slide demonstrates how we're not taking advantage of the full potential for DNA.
It shows that the number of convicted-offender samples collected in the United States as
of 1999 was over 700,000, but it also shows that those that have been analyzed are about
half. Only half of the sample have been analyzed using a DNA technology.
What's even more telling about this slide is the type of technology used. Most of those
samples that have been analyzed were analyzed under the older RFLP system. Those samples
now have to be reanalyzed under the new STR system because that's the way the entire
country is migrating to a quicker, better, cheaper technology of STRs.
So even though it's a little misleading, there are really less than half of the samples
that have been analyzed using the newest technology and something that crime laboratories
all across the country are suffering from right now, and that is the personnel and
resources to be able to put these samples in to the National DNA Index System.
Likewise, casework, there are over 40,000 casework samples currently in the National
DNA Index System, but yet, less than a hundred percent of those have been analyzed.
I probably said that wrong. Forty-six thousand casework samples have been collected.
Less than a hundred percent of those have been analyzed and placed into the CODIS system.
So, again, the resources in the state and local crime laboratories are not there to
aggressively work these cases to get them into the system and to hopefully bring about a
successful resolution in matching to another case or matching to a convicted sample.
Well, the first question you might have on your mind is why the backlog? I mean, after
all in the 15 years or so that we have been doing DNA technology here in the United States
in crime laboratories, we began with just a handful. We now have over a hundred public
crime laboratories doing DNA testing. We've also gone from RFLP to STRs, so we've got a
much faster technology now. So why the backlog?
Well, the first reason would be that it's used now in more cases than ever before, but
not just the cases that are currently being investigated. We're going back years and years
into old cases to help solve those old cases or to exonerate wrongly convicted
Secondly, the sensitivity of the technology. As I mentioned, cigarette butts were not a
very good sample ten years ago. Today they're an excellent sample.
Stamps or envelope flaps were not a good sample ten years ago. Today we can routinely
get DNA profiles from them as long as they're not the type that already have the sticky on
the back of the stamps. It still takes someone licking them.
Also, convicted-offender samples. Many of the states that are represented here today
are already changing their legislation, changing the laws by which they collect samples
from convicted offenders, increasing the numbers and types of crimes for which samples are
obtained, and so the expansion of these state statutes have also become quite a burden on
the crime laboratories around the country to be able to analyze these samples in a timely
As I've mentioned earlier, the federal convicted offender DNA database program right
now is just that. It's a program. It's an idea.
We've spent a lot of time and energy and effort in developing this program to put it
into place as soon as we get legislative authority, but we're still waiting for that last
piece of the puzzle.
Once we get that authority, you can see that we already have approximately 20,000
individualsincarcerated that would be required to provide a known blood sample, not to
mention the 7,500 individuals that would annually provide samples as well. So we have our
work ahead of us once we get the authority to begin doing what you are already doing.
Being right before lunch, you're probably looking at this illustration and thinking it
looks more like huevos rancheros though than a human cell, but it was my art attempt to
try to describe for you even another generation of technology, one that you may not be as
familiar with, and that is the use of mitochondrial DNA.
Now, Dr. Forman described very well how the DNA that we routinely talk about is found
within that nucleus, that yolk of the egg up there, but there are also small organelles
called mitochondria all throughout the other part of the cell. Each of those mitochondria
have a small circular piece of DNA called mitochondrial DNA.
We can analyze that DNA in a very similar fashion to how we analyze the nuclear DNA,
but it has one big advantage. A lot of samples or some samples do not contain any nuclear
DNA or a sufficient amount of nuclear DNA. Those samples are bones, teeth and hair.
Hair that naturally falls out does not have root material on it. It's in that root
material that you would find nuclear DNA, but a naturally shed hair is not going to have
nuclear DNA, but it has a lot of copies of mitochondrial DNA.
Likewise, bones and teeth, especially those that have been found out in the environment
for years and years, once they're uncovered, they may not contain any nuclear DNA, but
because the mitochondria are found in so many copies, they will contain or often contain
We have the ability now to analyze that DNA and compare it to known samples, but here's
the distinction: Nuclear DNA can point to a person and say to a reasonable degree of
scientific certainty it came from that individual to the exclusion of all others.
Mitochondrial DNA is slightly different. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from your
mother. So you have the same mitochondrial DNA as your mother. You also have the same
mitochondrial DNA as your brothers and sisters. It's maternally inherited. So where it
really pays dividends is in missing persons.
If you uncover skeletal remains at a crime scene and these remains are many years old,
there may not be any nuclear DNA to analyze from those samples.
If we would go about the traditional routine of looking at dental records and other
antemortem records looking to compare those bones to those records, it would come up
blank. Mitochondrial DNA is a method now that we can use to compare those bones to any
maternal relative believed to be related to those bones.
We've already used this on a number of cases and have been able to show a match between
thebones and a maternal relative. It's not a form of individualization, but it certainly
gets us very close to who that person may be.
So that third index I was talking about in CODIS, that third file would be the missing
person's database. That's a database that laboratories would generate, laboratories
capable of performing this technology, and they would maintain within that file voluntary
samples provided by maternal relatives of missing individuals.
Then once you, in your investigations, uncover the remains of someone that is
unidentified, those samples can be compared to the missing person's database in hopes of
matching those up.
We've seen this and other technologies used internationally, for example, in our trip
to Kosovo where we recovered 124 bodies. This is just one of the technologies that could
be used to solve or to identify the bodies found within these types of crime scenes.
Not only is CODIS being widely used here in the United States, it's really becoming the
international standard for DNA comparisons.
Already we are found in ten different countries, and other countries have asked for the
software as well.
Now, just like we give this software free of charge to state and local laboratories, we
also provide it to foreign governments as well that request it.
Now, the difference is these samples in the foreign governments and this system is not
hooked to our system. We're not going to be comparing samples across the computers of a
sample here in the United States with one in a foreign country, but it's up to that
country to develop their network within their own country.
One example is Finland. They've only had the CODIS software for one year, but already
have 1,600 offender profiles in it, over 450 casework samples in it and they've already
solved 90 crimes that had gone unsolved utilizing this technology.
Well, I hope for those of you who didn't raise your hand earlier and say that, Yeah, I
know what CODIS is, I hope this provided you some outline, some means of understanding
what CODIS is and the potential that CODIS, through the National DNA Index System, has in
solving heretofore unsolved crimes, and I would be happy later on in the panel session to
answer any questions that you have related to this. Thank you very much.
MR. ADAMS: Chief Gainer, are you around? I'm not sure --
MR. ASPLEN: Thank you, Dwight. To save time while they're doing this, I'll introduce
our next speaker.
As you can see from the agenda, we have gone a little bit out of sequence simply
because while I was the one who put the three names down on the agenda, these three
gentlemen wisely figure that it would be best to let Dwight speak first, again, to kind of
give you a primmer about the nature of the database which would put Dave's and Paul's talk
I think in a little bit more context for you.
To introduce Dr. Paul Ferrara, I necessarily have to kind of do again what I said with
Chief Gainer and give him thanks on a number of levels.
Number one, he's also a Commissioner, but he's also the Chair of the Laboratory Funding
Working Group for the Commission, and the first, one of the first things that the
Commission did was consider the backlog problem that we'll talk about more intensely in a
little bit, but they made a recommendation regarding the need to eliminate that backlog.
This year, I think as Julie Samuels mentioned, NIJ is allocating $15 million for
backlog reduction. That is because of the work of Paul Ferrara's working group and the
Commission's group on identifying the nature of that problem and making recommendations to
help solve that problem.
But as I was looking at Paul's resume' and the materials that you already have, I'm not
going to go through all of it, I've known Paul for probably about five years now.
I'm looking at the top of the page, and the pH degrees was plural, so I leaned over and
said, Do you actually have two of those? Yeah. Well, I do. He said but keep it short,
would you? So I do want to keep it short, and again, give my thanks to Dr. Ferrara and
turn it over to him now.
DR. FERRARA (Dr. Ferrara's
PowerPoint Presentation): Thank you very much, Chris. About three months ago,
eight-year-old Kevin Shifflett was playing in his front yard in nearby Alexandria,
Virginia with his great-grandparents when a stranger approached him, stabbed him to death,
stabbed his great-grandmother and a passer by and departed the crime scene.
The police had very little to go on; however, they were able to identify the cab in
which the perpetrator departed the crime scene. They were able to submit to our laboratory
some of the interior of that cab which was, as you might imagine, blood stained.
As one might anticipate, various multiple DNA tests indicated that the blood belonged
to that of the victim, Kevin Shifflett; however, our examiners, one of our examiners in
our laboratory, our northern laboratory here in Fairfax, Virginia didn't stop with just
one or two samples, but exhaustively tested different portions of that interior until she
came upon a point in which there was a weak DNA profile consistent with Kevin Shifflett
and a stronger foreign profile that had not, we had not seen before.
That profile was quickly searched against Virginia's DNA data bank, and within an hour
of that we informed the Alexandria Police Department of the identity of that individual.
I hadn't planned on talking about that case, but it's been filling The Washington Post
and the local newspapers here for the last several months.
Today's Post pretty much describes, in considerable detail, what I've already told you.
So, in effect, if there is any media here, I guess this constitutes a confirmation,
although we specifically do not talk to the media about active criminal investigations.
That is the function of the law enforcement agency and the prosecutor.
CODIS works. That's an example of how that works. I'm going to explain in the next few
minutes why it works in Virginia, and you'll hear similar stories from Florida, as Dwight
mentioned two very successful programs.
Virginia and Florida both passed the early DNA data bank laws in the United States in
1989. In 1989, Virginia's DNA data bank was confined to violent offenders, murderers,
In 1990 after a study of recidivism among various offenders that Virginia's DNA data
bank was expanded to include all convicted felons.
In 1996, it was further expanded to include juveniles age 14 or older who were
convicted of what would have been a felony had they been an adult.
What I would like to show you now is a brief snapshot of what has transpired in those
last 11 years with a particular focus on the last 18 months, and if I can learn how to --
with two Ph.D.s and I can't advance this. Let me just do it this way.
Sitting in the back earlier I realize that some of these slides are difficult to read,
but this particular graph chronicles the number of DNA data bank hits that we have
experienced in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1989.
We had our first hit in 1993. As you can see, the number of hits increased dramatically
in 1999 and for the first six months of this year.
I bring to your attention a very important piece of data other than the sides of the
bars, and that is that blue line which describes the number of samples in the DNA data
For those of you who can't read that figure, the size of Virginia's DNA data bank
currently is at 120,000 individual profiles.
What we did in 1998 is enter into a contract with a private laboratory to run some
approximately 70,000 samples a year for us while we concentrated on what is the second
part of a very important equation, and that is running crime scene samples.
This next slide demonstrates graphically the number of DNA cases that we have conducted
analyses on in Virginia's laboratories since 1989.
You will note that we did a total of 37 crime scene cases in 1989. In the first six
months of this year, we have run over 1,300 crime scene cases.
Now, make no mistake, for an effective use of a data bank, the database itself without
running crime scene samples is useless. You need to have a database, and you have to be
able to have the capacity to run crime scene samples, and as our previous speakers have
noted, the number and types of those samples is exploding, and it should, because this
technology is giving rise to effective use of the most minute and varied and unusual types
of samples that we have never before encountered or found usable.
We have made many of these DNA data bank hits on samples, such as a half-eaten honey
bun, saliva from breath swabs of rape victims. The list and the variety of types of
samples, you've heard a little bit about it already, just, I will leave to your
imagination, but it's important to note that your laboratories are going to have to be
prepared for the onslaught of samples if this technology is to be used to its maximum.
Now, what we found interesting is as you can see from that chart, the total number of
hits as of the end of June of this year in Virginia totals now 183 with obviously 151 of
them coming in the last 18 months when the database is up there in the 120,000 range.
You'll note, as Dwight Adams had indicated, there are different types of hits. You can
have a case-to-offender hit where you analyze the material at the crime scene and identify
the individual from the offender database or you can experience a forensic hit or a
case-to-case hit where you don't identify the offender, but you identify the same person
as having been involved in some other particular crime.
Among our hits already with the limited, with the limited application of CODIS, we've
already had in, Virginia has already been part of four interstate data-bank hits.
One particular one of interest in Florida was a gentleman who, a gentleman, a person
who had about paroled from Virginia and went to Sarasota, Florida, lucky Florida.
Fortunately, this -- unfortunately, this guy committed a series of rapes in Florida.
They searched their data bank, didn't find him there, but when they searched Virginia's,
we identified Mark Dagel in that particular case.
Clearly, if you look at the charts, you can easily extrapolate at our current rate,
which is almost a hit a working day as I speak to you now, we would expect to have as many
as at least 150 hits in the year 2000 alone in Virginia. I can't begin to project beyond
that because I just don't think that we have enough data. It's more than just a linear
We will continue to score more interstate hits as the other states come on line with
CODIS and hopefully when the Federal Government has the wisdom to develop a DNA data bank
of federal prisoners.
Now, what I'd like to do very, very quickly is give you a description of the types of
cases, and I think you may be somewhat surprised by some of this data.
Of those 183 cases that have been solved, 80 of them have been rape or sodomy-type
cases, 22 homicides, 11 rape homicides, 55 burglaries and breaking and entering, property
crimes, and 15 of a variety of different types of crimes that we might not expect and,
again, make no mistake this is not a technology just for violent crime.
I didn't list it because I was almost embarrassed to point out that one of the cases
that we made a hit on involved a drug-possession case.
The law enforcement agency had asked us to swab the mouthpiece of a bong to see if we
could identify the individual and we did. There's other reasons for us doing that, but as
you can see, there's no limitation to the types of cases.
Now, let's simply look at what we can infer from the criminal histories. Why were these
people that we've identified in Virginia's DNA data bank, of what charge, of what crime
had they been convicted?
Now, some of this data is incomplete, because, again, there's logistical issues and
problems with getting criminal-record histories.
The Virginia Division of Forensic Science is not a law enforcement agency, per se. We
serve every law enforcement in the Commonwealth of Virginia, so access to criminal record
histories and information from corrections is problematic, but I'll tell you this, 49 of
those persons that we identified had, were in our data bank because of property crimes.
Fifteen were sex offenders, as one might expect, ten grand larceny.
For those of you who have heard, Oh, what are you taking samples from check cutters and
paper hangers for? Well, that's one reason. There's seven hits, and remember, these are
mostly violent crimes that we're, that we were solving, and burglaries. Seven had
convictions for uttering and forgery.
A drug user is not, not going to be committing future violent crimes. Well, 18 of, 18
of the people were in there for drug possession/distribution charges. Two for homicide,
abduction, kidnaping. Don't ask me what they were doing out again, but they certainly were
there, and at least 47 others were either not sex offenders or we have not been able to
identify yet what their, what crime they committed, but I think it's very important to
look at the distribution of the types of crimes solved and the types of criminal histories
that the individuals have who are being identified in these data banks.
What conclusions do we draw from all of these data? Well, some of it is quite clear. We
would not have had half of that number, 183 hits, in Virginia if we did not include all
If our, if our DNA data bank was limbed, as it was in 1989, for that one year, the hit
rate wouldbe at least half of what it is today.
When we did an individual careful study of 40 rape and murder cases that were solved by
the DNA data bank and we carefully looked at the criminal history records of those
individuals, 40 percent of those violent crimes were perpetrated by an individual who is
in our data bank because of a previous property conviction. So it's not just the burglars
committing more burglaries, although obviously there is a lot of that.
I think clearly that the DNA data banks is most effective by inclusion, therefore, of
all felons and applied to all types of cases.
Now, I realize that many states, many localities have either no capabilities or very,
very limited capabilities and will only use that limited technology in certain cases. We
all started that way, but the more you develop your capacity, the more types of crimes you
realize can be resolved or at least investigative information provided so critically and
on a timely fashion to law enforcement that it makes it extremely powerful.
In terms of personal recommendations, clearly, at a minimum, all convicted felons, and
specifically as the previous speakers have noted, we, the forensic science community, have
established a gold standard, if you will, of 13 specific core genetic loci. That's what
makes all of this interchange in comparison of data between states, between localities
We have to develop increased capacity to run all crime scene evidence. As any of the
experienced forensic laboratory people here in the room will tell you, there's a
tremendous amount of evidence with potentially probative biological material present, but
yet, the ability to run all of that evidence is a very difficult, time-consuming sample,
I might point out -- remember I did 37 cases in 1989. I had two DNA examiners. We were
using the RFLP method. We've done 1,300 plus so far this year. That 1,300 is with a staff
of 35 DNA examiners in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Now, it's not sufficient to run just crime-scene evidence on cases where the police
have a suspect and prosecution is proceeding.
The whole point of DNA data banks is to provide investigative information in no suspect
or non suspect or unsub cases, whatever you want to call them.
There is a propensity, understandable, and we did it in Virginia at the start, to run
just those cases where the police had a suspect.
Well, there's, the non-suspect cases are the ones where the DNA data bank is
tremendously effective. Not just current crimes, but old, cold cases.
We have solved some of these crimes, one homicide, one homicide, two homicides, the
1980 and 1983 cases.
The evidence was still available, the law enforcement agency, investigators came to the
laboratory and said, These cases have been hanging around our neck for 20 years. Can you
do anything with it?
Well, clearly we can, but it took a special effort to run cold cases, 20-year-old cases
when you're fighting against a backlog of active crime scene cases.
Now, PC cases, that's not a probable cause term. That's post conviction. Now, there's
going to be a lot of talk about post-conviction testing, and I'm here to tell you, and
I've been involved in it for a long time, that takes a tremendous amount of time and
effort as well.
So post -- so between the combination of active cases post conviction and cold cases,
you've got a lot of work to do in the laboratory.
How are you going to do that? On a national level, we have got to increase the staff,
improve the facility, the physical plants that the laboratories are, do work in. I don't
know how many law enforcement agencies are here, and I don't know how many would raise
their hand, and if I asked you, all right, Whose lab is in the basement of your building?
It doesn't belong in the basement of an old schoolhouse.
Modern forensic laboratories need to be built. We are operating with almost a quarter
of a million square feet of forensic laboratory in the Commonwealth of Virginia that has a
population of 7 million. It ain't cheap, but you got -- if you're going to do it, you've
got to do it right and you've got to have the facilities, the resources. This isn't cheap
technology, but the most difficult problem that we are going to face in this country, you
can throw all of the money you want at buildings and at supplies and equipment, but one of
your limiting factors is going to be the highly skilled, trained examiners. Where are they
going to come from?
I think we are going to have to look at establishing centers where large numbers of
forensic scientists or let me say scientists, minimally with a bachelor's degree;
preferably with a master's degree in biology or genetics or molecular biology have, all of
the necessary undergraduate education, graduate course work, and then our training program
takes about a year of that individual working in an actual working laboratory beside other
fully qualified examiners learning how to do this type of casework.
To that end, recently we were fortunate in Virginia to be the beneficiaries of a
million and a half dollar contribution from crime writer Patricia Cornwell to establish
the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine.
Among other trainings that was conducted, we just graduated our first six graduates.
The first six DNA examiners graduated from that program. I'll tell you that I hired all
six in my laboratories.
We have another class of six beginning as we speak, but we don't need six a year. We're
going to need 60 a year, we're going to need 600 a year, and we're going to have to train
and pay those people to keep them.
That concludes my comments, and I, like Dwight and Dave, will be available for
questions after we're all finished. Thank you very much.
MR. ASPLEN: While we're waiting to change computers, I'll make a couple of
First of all, we've established we're going to be in a much bigger space. We changed
the space that we originally had for tomorrow that was supposed to be a little bit bigger.
Now, I understand it, we're in a considerably larger space as we anticipate we'll
probably have even more people tomorrow. That will be in the Atrium Ballroom tomorrow, not
the Polaris room as is listed on your schedule. It's the Atrium Ballroom. We will -- I'm
sure we will have signs indicating the way to get there.
Also, again, let me just reiterate that we do have available, if anyone needs that, the
sign-language interpreters as we mentioned earlier.
Also, when we're finished here with the next presentation, lunch will be set up in here
in the back, and so what we'll need to do is I think stack some of those chairs and it
will probably be best if we kind of move people out in that direction incrementally by
rows. So I'll ask probably one of our folks from NIJ to kind of help facilitate that
happening, again, to deal with the close space. We won't have these issues -- we shouldn't
have these issues tomorrow.
Our next speaker is Dave Coffman, and David is from the State of Florida, and as both
Paul and Dwight mentioned, Florida is another one of those states which is absolutely on
the leading edge of the potential of DNA technology and databasing. Here's a laser
printer, pointer if you would like it.
MR. COFFMAN: Good.
MR. ASPLEN: David, his title is crime laboratory analyst supervisor for the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee, but David is also a member of the DNA
Advisory Board which for those of you who don't know what that is, is really the Advisory
Board responsible for creating quality standards for DNA testing.
They make their recommendations to the director of the FBI laboratory, and it's that
body which is, which ensures the quality and reliability of DNA testing, but most
importantly about David is David is as energetic a promoter of this technology as you will
find. He's on the Working Group, the Laboratory Funding Working Group for the Commission
and has been extremely instrumental in the recommendations that they've developed. Again,
things like CODIS database backlog reduction.
There are a number of people who are more than willing to get involved when you ask
them to become involved in important issues. David is a guy who sees the need and goes and
getsinvolved before you even ask him.
I called David and I believe that the message that I left for David when I invited him
here was, Would you do me a favor and come and preach the gospel, because I think that
when you're done listening to David you'll understand that that's just how passionate he
is about it and that especially the citizens of Florida are all the better for it. So
MR. COFFMAN: Thank you. First of all, I want to thank DOJ for asking me to come speak,
and I think Chris's comments basically means that I stick my nose in where it's not wanted
is how that's summarized, but no.
I am very passionate about this topic and, because I have seen it work in Florida and
I'm seeing it work in other states as well now.
Dwight mentioned the number of hits and investigations aided that we've had in Florida.
I really would like to think that's not because we have more criminals, but because we
have more victims in Florida. So that's just another way of looking at it.
So when you have a lot of tourists and lot of people coming to retire, that's just like
an easy source of -- you would believe how -- well, I shouldn't say that. You all wouldn't
come to Florida then. That's what's funding our program. Never mind. Tourists are never a
bother to Florida.
DNA analysis in the criminal justice field, first I just want to go over why do we have
a DNA database, a little legislative review of our state and how we progressed and also
some success stories, and I do have a lot of slides. I put them all in your book for a
reason just to give you examples of different kinds of hits. I will not be able to, more
than likely, get to all of them today, so don't worry. I will stop at 30 minutes, I
Rape in the U.S., there's a total of 500,000 sexual assaults on women; 170,000 pleaded
rapes, 140,000 attempted rapes and 190,000 other sexual assaults.
Now, the attacker unknown to the victim, and this was 1995 statistics, is one out of
three. So about 33 percent of the rapes that we have out there, the victim does not know
the attacker. So that's a perfect use of the DNA database to help resolve these cases.
By the way, this number is up. In the 1992 statistics that I used to use, it was one
out of five the victim did not know her attacker. So it is on the rise as far as not the
number of rapes, but the victim not knowing who attacked them.
The mean age of the first offense is about 18 years. The number of detected sexual
assaults per rapist in a prison they've found to be about three. Undetected sexual
assaults is about five, and this, that number was determined by interviewing inmates.
So, you know, it's kind of a fussy number because some of them would say, Yeah, I did
600 or some of them would say, No, I didn't do the one I'm in prison for now. So they kind
of threw out the high and the low and came up with about they figured five that we don't
ever detect or link to an individual.
Recidivism rates for offenders on community supervision, this is not in your handout
because I got this faxed to me by mistake. It was a grant proposal, but it had some good
facts in it, so I decided to use it.
Recidivism rate on offenders on community supervision. Now, this is people on state
parole or probation. It's not counting local jails or anything. In the year they looked
at, there were 300,000 on community supervision in the nation.
Of those 300,000, 13,000, 13,200 people were murdered by those people; 13,000 people
were raped by those 300,000; 39,500 were robbed; 39,600 were burglarized; 19,200 were
assaulted and 7,900 stole a car.
So the point is -- and, by the way, these numbers are where they were arrested and
actually obtained a conviction. It doesn't count the ones that were charged or -- so this
is pretty powerful stuff that these people are out on the street and they're committing
Rape in the U.S. is considered the costliest crime with victim costs as high as 127
billion. It actually exacts a higher price than murder, and the quotes for this
information are on the slide.
Now, they did -- by the way, do you see that thing swirling? I feel like Paul when he
said he's got two Ph.D.s. I cannot figure out how to make it stop swirling on every slide.
I got most of them, but some of them I can't do it. So pardon me if those things swirl
around there for a while.
Rape in the U.S., individual cost, it's a study about this thick, so I can't even tell
you how they came up with all of these numbers, and this is supposed to be the individual
cost to the victim. So it's not even counting your investigative time.
So when it's talking about the police and fire services, that's literally just
interviewing the witness or taking the rape kit to the hospital. It's not your
But just individual cost they estimate rape brings a cost of about $87,000 per rape to
society. That's what it costs society.
Now, there you go again. This is what we presented this year. We expanded our database
this year, and this is what we presented to our Governor on two different occasions,
privately and then also to our legislature, and we did get our expansion with one no vote.
I mean it was a unanimous vote.
And the reason -- Florida is a very big performance-based budgeting state. We call it
PV squared, and you hate to, you hate to reduce what we do to dollars and cents because
there's just a societalvalue to doing this. It shouldn't be about dollars and cents, but
when you're going out and trying to get support from the legislature where they have got
all of these people wanting a piece of pie, you better find a way to bring it down to
dollars and cents.
So I provided this to you so maybe when you go back and help the crime laboratories in
your states and jurisdictions to get some funding this may help you.
We use the average cost of rape as 87,000. We also have studies that show the average
number of rapes per offender is eight to 12. There's kind of a range. I found several
Let's assume that an offender commits eight rapes. Our CODIS hits stops an offender
midway through his career, if you want to call it that, thus preventing four rapes.
So for four prevented rapes, times 87,000, it comes up to be $348,000 in societal
Now, this is the one that we tried to drive the point home. We try to be as
conservative as possible, so don't think we're padding the numbers or anything.
Let's just say CODIS has matched approximately a hundred sexual assault cases to
offenders. Assume that a DNA hit prevents only 25 percent of those offenders from
committing just one more assault when then get out.
Now, keep in mind we already know their recidivism rate is 67 percent. Sometimes I have
seen studies as high as 74.
Let's just say we prevent just 25 percent of them from reoffending. Eighty-seven
thousand times 25 rapes, is $2.1 million, which, and I swear to you, we came up with this
conservative estimate before we realized that the number added up to exactly what we were
asking for in this legislative session. I promise. I really do. It really was.
Remember, the average offender commits eight to 12 rapes. So we're talking some real
savings for society. We're talking for a better community, a better life for your citizens
of your state, and let's face it, in Florida, I think one reason we're very progressive
about crime is we are, I mean, I joked about it, but we are a tourist-based state. That's
a lot of our funding. We want a safe place for people to come visit Florida. It's very
important to us. So that's why we haven't had problems getting the -- well, it took five
years, but once they came on the bandwagon, now everybody wants to help.
This is a pie chart, and I know it's hard to read, but just to show you that the, this
part right over here, that's the people on probation and that's on parole. So most of
these violent offenders are out on street able to commit more crimes.
Our state began collecting from sexual assault and lewd and indecent acts because
basically, we didn't even have the DNA technology up and running yet. They didn't have the
staff. I was the staff for about two and a half years, and then we added murder in 1993.
Then we started getting our hits and we started seeing a trend. We started looking at
the criminal history of these people.
Also, I started listening to you, the investigator. I'd get calls -- we get calls
daily. I would say about -- we have a phone log, about ten calls a day from investigators
around the state wanting to know if this guy is in the data bank. They want to make sure
he's in there, and we, we started finding out, early on we started finding out they said,
Well, look, this guy should be in your database. Why don't you have him? He was charged
with sexual assault.
So I started digging, found out he was charged with sexual assault, but he was
convicted of jaywalking. You know how plea bargaining works.
And so I started calling -- I don't like plea bargaining personally, but I started
calling around to State Attorneys around our state, and I found out the most common in
every jurisdiction plea bargain for someone charged with a sexual assault is aggravated in
battery in our state. I don't know what it is in your state.
So we added aggravated battery, we added home-invasion robbery. We're kind of trying to
introduce them to the concept of adding burglary, you know, down the line and car jacking.
Now, the reason we added car jacking is our psychological profilers in our department
said that's a very confrontational crime and said they're the ones that wanted us to add
that, and also, when we ever, whenever we make a hit, we send a copy of our report and a
summary of it to our psychological profilers because that hit we just solved here could
help them with a case that they're working in another jurisdiction. So we try to get
So anyway when I first started I thought, Well, shoot, the law says that FDLE analyzes
it, Department of Corrections collects it and if the guy's on probation or parole, the
sheriff collects it.
Well, I soon found out that all of these eight, that all these people have to cooperate
to get the samples for those people on probation and parole.
Even with the -- we even hired a person in my database to go out and talk and keep up
with the compliance level of people on probation, and even with our best efforts, we're
about 35 percent compliant.
It's just a, it's just murder to get the court order issued at the time of conviction
because it's just, I don't know -- is anybody from the Miami area in here? Okay.
In Miami, they have 250 attorneys on their felony squad. They lose about 15 a month. So
they have constant turnover. So it's just hard to keep all of the State Attorneys trained
to request a blood sample to be added to the database, so that's a big part of our
So how can DNA help solve crimes. We've already mentioned, heard that from the
otherspeakers. It can by linking an unknown sample to a convicted offender. That's the one
everybody wants. Linking an unknown sample to a solved case.
Now, the reason I mention this is even amongst my colleagues, I've been surprised to
hear people say, Well -- say you're in a jurisdiction of, I don't know, Oklahoma and they
say, Well, we didn't do the full CODIS core loci because it matched our offender and
that's all we needed and we got a conviction on just three loci, we didn't need all 13.
Well, we're trying to build a national DNA database. You can't have a moppet view of
your county anymore and said, It's only, it's good enough four our county. We don't need
to worry about the nation as a whole because your case that you link to an offender or a
suspect could solve seven rapes in Florida that we did not have an offender, and we'll
never know that unless you work all of the loci and put it up in the national database.
So we've had probably 25 cases to where a case in this jurisdiction was unsolved, but
it did match a case in another lab where they had the suspect and they left the profile in
there. So it's really important to consider that.
Also, linking two or more unsolved cases and by excluding suspects, we've done that
several times. In fact, just recently we have a case where the individual was convicted of
a sexual assault. There was no DNA evidence circumstantially. He was just claiming his
And by the way, I won't give you where this occurred or anything because it's still in
the hopper right now and I don't know how it's going to come out.
But they felt he did another, another rape as well, so they pursued him after he was
convicted of the first one for the second one. He said, I did not do this.
When they brought in all of the evidence and examined it, they found the DNA profile
there. The prisoner insisted that it be searched in our offender database, and we matched
it to another offender.
So now there's a question if they felt he was that strong of a suspect in the first
one, they're kind of re-looking at the first one now as seeing how the second guy that's
involved, if he could have done the first crime. So it just has unlimited potential.
Right now we've collected about 70,000 offenders. Now, keep in mind up until July 1, we
were getting about 580 samples a month in our database. Now we're getting 4,000 because
our burglary law expansion went into effect in July 1. We've had 235 hits statewide, and
we've aided in over 365 investigations.
Now, the reason I say that, we've had cases where we've linked, it's one hit, but we've
helped resolve 12 sexual assaults once they knew that that case was linked. We don't count
each individual case individually. We just count the hit and then however many cases that
go into the investigations aided.
Here's our hits by year, and when we first started, it took a few years because we were
only maybe completing 40 samples a month at that time, and actually, with my current staff
that we have now, just two years ago we were completing about a thousand samples a month
in the old RFLP technology.
With the same technical staff I have now, except now I have actually gave up two
positions last year, we decreased our technical staff by two in the database, not in the
casework, and now we're doing 6,000 a month because we've been using automation since 1996
and robotics and it's, and now that we're doing STR, it's more amiable to automation even
more. We're actually getting a lot more done with fewer people on the technical side.
There's a whole administrative side that's another issue.
I do want to say something about this first. If you'll notice, we were getting about
three to five hits the first few years once the hits started, and then in 1995 is when we
jumped from four to 19 in one year. That's the year we added aggravated battery, and we
helped resolve a lot of historical rapes that were sitting in the database searching all
the time. We added aggravated battery.
Then we kind of booked along there until 1998 where all of the sudden we went up to 67
hits in one year. That's the year we became totally current for the first time with all of
our offenders being worked.
Also, there's another factor you have to include because we also track, is it a rape
that was done before the guy went into prison or one that was after?
The average length of time someone spends time in prison for a sexual assault is about
seven years. If you notice, that's about seven years after we started collecting. So
they're starting to get out and reoffend. So you have to consider that factor, too.
In 1998, we had a little -- excuse me. In 1999, we had a little dip in our numbers.
That's because you've heard of the STR technology. All of the crime labs in the state shut
down, RFLP started training people for STR so not as many no-suspect cases were being
worked and meanwhile, we had to convert our database to STR.
Well, right now we're about halfway converted. We're -- like I said, we're completing
6,000 a month, and we've had 30 hits so far in 2000. So we're creeping back up to our 1998
standard, and hopefully, we'll go beyond since now we have burglary.
Here's just a quick rough of the hit comparisons by state and, of course, Virginia with
one hit a day per average. I figure I can use this slide maybe two more months and then
they're going to go past us.
Florida national's standing investigations aided as well, that just makes sense. If you
have more hits, you're going to have, aid more in investigations, too.
How to ensure a successful database? You've got to collect the blood samples. I tell
you thisbecause some of you are probably involved in the collection process for your, your
state database and just keep that in mind. That's something that needs to be a policy in
your agency to make sure that these blood samples do get to the crime lab that's doing
your data banking.
You've got to analyze the blood samples. Well, I think with NIJ's help and the federal
funding, we are accomplishing that now as you speak and also the advance in automation and
robotics is helping that.
And then perform DNA cases, DNA analysis on cases without suspects. You've got to do
I don't know if you remember the -- was it Finland? The Finland scenario where they had
1,600 offenders and 90 hits. Well, they had 450 cases that they analyzed. They had a much
larger ratio of cases to offenders than any of us do in this country. That's why they're
solving the cases.
You're not going to solve anything unless you work the case. The reason I say that is
because we have helped one agency in our state, and it's statewide and it's nationwide
Crime labs don't have enough people. Most crime labs aren't big enough. They base their
budget over what they got last year, not what's out there to be worked. And now that we
can -- I think the oldest case we've worked is a 33-year-old homicide, quadruple homicide
How can you plan your budget when you're, you don't even -- like Paul says, you're not
even getting what's out there to be worked now and now they want you to work stuff as old
as 33 years old.
So you need to fight for your crime labs to help them out with this. I mean, it's just,
it's just phenomenal the amount of work that's out there.
This agency that we helped and within a month's time we helped solve 14 rapes in their
city from two different serial rapists. We made a case-to-case hit.
That state when we had a press conference with it, it turned out that they have over
600 rape kits in their freezers that they've never submitted to FDLE. That's just one
And we said, Why haven't you submitted them? They go, Well, you've got a 180-day
turnaround time and we don't want to bog down your system with the cases that we need to
go to trial next month with cases that are unsolved and there's no clues.
Well, it shouldn't be that way. We got to find a way to work the no-suspect cases, and
you hear a lot of talk about the arrestee issue and Police Commissioner Safir goes around
talking about collecting arrestees, but, you know, what I have found is Police
Commissioner Safir is saying more than that.
He's saying you've got to work those no-suspect rape cases. They're just not wanting to
do all arrestees. They're going to work the 16,000 rapes that are in their freezers.
I've talked to more police chiefs and sheriffs that have walked away from one of Police
Commissioner Safir's talks and all they want to do is say all arrestees in their county.
You've got to attack it both ways because it's an expensive proposition to go to
arrestees, and I think working the casework is more important because even with the few
crimes we collect now in some of our jurisdictions we're up to 50-percent resolution rate.
If the lab works two cases, we're going to solve one.
So even with the limited samples, we've got the potential to solve most of your cases
right now, and I agree with Paul, our eventual goal will be all felons, but I think
arrestees ought to be approached with, unless you approach it like New York is wanting to
where you work the no-suspect case, you need to be careful about approaching that issue.
Real quickly, we had a cold hit to a 1993 murder of an elderly woman, Martha Roberts
in, this was in '95. We also solved a five-year-old homicide -- excuse me. This was
another sexual assault. This is our very first hit in Dade County, a Dade County woman.
Then we had a five-year-old homicide. This was our first homicide that we solved of a
woman found in the woods. She had semen on her face and in her mouth, and they were able
to get a profile and for five years they were testing suspects and we finally matched on
it in 1993.
These cases had two things in common. They were solved by the DNA database, there was
no other clues, they had no other leads and all of these offenders had prior burglary in
their criminal history.
So our year 2000 legislative priority was to add burglary as a qualifying offense, and
we could not have done what we have done in our state, the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement -- it wasn't me. I mean, we helped -- you know, we helped do what we got from
our Commissioner, our legislature, but our Commissioner has stood behind us from day one.
He's worked with the Police Chief's Association and the Sheriff's Association in our
state, and it was because of his support that we're able to do this.
He has totally supported us from day one, and just to let you know, you know, we're the
statewide Law Enforcement Agency for Florida, this was the number one priority of
everything he wanted to implement this year. This was our number one legislative priority,
and every time we have anything with our database involved it always is.
So you've got to have support with people like you if you're going to get anything
accomplished. It was effective July 1, by the way.
Why add burglary? There's a 67 percent recidivism rate among convicted sexual
offenders, and the average number is eight per offender.
We found by looking at the criminal histories of they guys after we linked them to
rapes andhomicide that 52 percent of our hits the offenders had a prior burglary in their
criminal history and throughout, by the way. Not just prior, but throughout.
Collecting samples, here's our logic. Collecting samples from offenders convicted of
burglary could help ensure their DNA profiles are in the database before commission of
their first violent act.
Now, let's -- I'm just sitting aside here that we're going to solve a bunch of
burglaries. Let's face it, they break in, they cut themselves, there's blood.
Probably burglary is the number one -- we don't have them as high a priority, but
probably there's more burglary cases to be worked through serology and DNA than there are
rapes and homicides.
So it just makes good sense for the time, to add them for the types of crimes we're
getting in the crime labs anyway, but we want to try to prevent these violent crimes, not
just put them together after they have committed it.
Now, here's the criminal history of the offenders linked to sexual assaults and
homicides. Eleven percent had a previous firearm possession. Thirty percent had a previous
drug charge. Thirty-four percent had a previous grand theft. Thirty-four percent had a
previous robbery. Fifty-two percent had a burglary, and only 18 percent of the people we
linked to rape and homicide had only the crimes that we collect for in their criminal
That shows you how, you know, that's why all felons is the way to ensure that this
doesn't happen, but using this information, performance-based budgeting, we tried to point
this out and they added burglary without a problem in our state this year.
Now, I was criticized by a national organization, ACLU, for maybe not having a broad
enough database of information. I had a couple hundred cases to look at.
So I went to our prisons, and I said, Would you mind looking at the approximately
200,000 people that are either on probation or in our prisons and would you run a query
for me and tell me what are the people that are in prison for burglary now, what are their
past criminal history?
Fourteen percent of them had a prior burglary, I mean homicide. These are people in
prison for burglary. What have they done else that they've been caught for? These are just
-- 14 percent had a homicide. Nine percent had sexual assault. Thirteen percent had
Remember in our state, aggravated battery and sexual assault are sometimes on in the
same. Nine percent with lewd acts with a 45 percent total.
So 45 to 52, that's a statistically valid comparison, and it was a much larger sampling
that we took it from. So we feel very justified in adding burglary to our database to help
Real quickly, I know I've got about six minutes. I'm going to stick with it, I promise.
The James Stengel case, this is our first one. This shows you the value of a database,
not just keeping one in your jurisdiction, but being part of the state or national system.
James Stengel lived in Daytona Beach. He committed his first rape -- well, excuse me.
He committed a rape where he got caught in Orlando about 90 miles away. We linked him to a
1991 rape in Miami using the database. It was our first hit.
Real quickly, the guy did not want to -- after I've got five boxes of information
together for the defense discovery motion, the guy decides to plead because he didn't want
a lot of publicity.
Well, this was our first database hit. He got a lot of publicity whether he wanted it
or not. They put his picture in the Miami Herald. A man in Miami cut out the article, sent
it to his daughter in Kentucky. He said -- she was raped in 1991. She was a flight
attendant, was raped in 1991 in Florida. He said, Maybe they can solve your case.
She opened up the article, saw the picture, said that's the man that raped me. So we
called. It turned she had been raped in a jurisdiction that didn't have DNA testing for
their crime lab and they weren't part of our jurisdiction, so they sent it to the FBI. We
called the FBI, they sent the profile down, we searched our database and it matched James.
So our first hit led to our second hit. There he is.
By the way, he was an exotic-male dancer or whatever, like a Chippendale thing, and he
would pick his victims out of the audience and stalk them for several weeks is how he
would do that.
He would go to their house, say that their girlfriends asked him to do a private dance
for them. The victims would let him know. He would ask if he could change. He would go to
a bedroom, unlock the window, change, do the dance and leave and then in three or four
days come back and come through the unlocked window because most people don't check -- in
Florida, your windows are shut all the time. It's too hot to have them open, so people
don't check to see if their windows are locked every night. So he came back through the
Old and cold cases, our Ft. Lauderdale area, the Ft. Lauderdale sheriff's office has an
old-cold quad where they're looking at these old cases.
This was a 12-year-old case at the time that we made the hit. A 1986 homicide case,
Armand Carruci was stabbed 82 times and then burned. Blood recovered from the scenes that
wasn't Carruci's and they had no suspects.
Ft. Lauderdale did save the biological evidence. In November, the DNA database received
a sample from a convicted sex offender, Scott Edward Williams. He was serving -- oh, in
May 1998, 12 years after the murder, the DNA database hits on Williams as the person who
left the blood at that crime scene.
Williams was serving a two-year sentence for sexually assaulting a six-year-old boy. By
the way, it was his own son.
When confronted, Williams confesses to Carruci's murder. He said it was -- now, keep in
mind, 82 stab wounds and set on fire, it was self-defense.
May 26, 1998 a warrant was used for the arrest of Williams, and there he is. That guy
is wound tight. You know it.
No, he did confess to the crime, and he later did, he committed suicide because he was
two weeks from getting out of prison, and with this murder charge, he just couldn't bear
it. So he confessed to the investigators, he called his wife, confessed to her and then
they found that he had killed himself in prison.
This was a series of six rapes in Jacksonville between '95 and '98. The assailant was
riding a bike when he approached several of the victims, and by the way, it was a pink
bike. I don't know why we couldn't catch him, but, a guy riding around on a pink bike.
Five of the assaults occurred between 5 and 6:30 a.m. All assaults occurred in a small
geographic area of Jacksonville. Here they are.
Evidence from all cases were submitted to the FDLE lab in Jacksonville and they
connected them. All cases were linked, and on May '99, the cases were linked to Anthony
By the way, he had an aggravated battery -- no. Excuse me. He had a sexual assault
charge from 1986. He had a parole violation of carrying a gun. So he went back into
Our law is retroactive, so it doesn't matter when you commit your crime, when you get
back in the custody of the prison, we draw you if we don't have you already, so that's how
we got him. Orick was submitted on the basis of a sexual battery conviction. There he is.
This one we had no-suspect evidence. It's important. This is to bring that point home.
Nine assaults in the D.C. area occurred.
The FBI lab worked all of those cases and did link them. Three assaults we had already
linked in Florida that we knew were from the same perpetrator, but when the national
system came up on line, we linked these 11 cases, excuse me, 12 cases together.
Within a week of having these linked it helped the investigators in Florida firm up
their case. They had a list of suspects, and they kind of dismissed this one guy. Well,
when they found out this guy travels frequently between Washington to Florida, he came
back up to the top of the list and they sent out a bulletin to pick him up.
He showed up dead in a drug-related killing. So getting the blood samples was no
problem. We didn't have to go to court, and we compared the case and it did match those
11, 12 cases.
By the way, these 12 cases occurred within a 12-month period of time between two
jurisdictions that far apart.
Florida prisoner matched North Carolina's sexual assault. The man was previously
convicted in jail in North Carolina for this crime.
When we matched it and called they and told them we had a hit, they said, Well, wait a
minute. We've already convicted somebody of this crime. It matched one of our offenders
that had absconded from probation, and he was picked up and rearrested in the very town
where this raped occurred in North Carolina. So an innocent man was freed due to the
database match as well in this case. That's the offender from Florida.
Real quickly, and this will be my last one, parentage DNA tests. We had a rape homicide
where they really felt like they knew who it was, but he had moved to West Virginia from
central Florida so asked me what could we do.
They found semen at the crime scene. The father of the suspect was in the database. The
whole family has some real problems with the law, and the father was in our database.
So I told them, Do not tell me the guy's name. I don't want to know his name, just send
We searched on what we call low stridency search which would only bring back if you
matched half the profile.
Out of our entire database, we pulled out two people. I wrote a report up and said they
might want to look at these two people. One of them was this guy's father.
So as they proceeded to moved forward with the investigation, if they were going to get
a court order to get his blood, he was in West Virginia. By the way, this is central
Florida, and please forgive me, this is a joke so don't take any offense, I'm cracking on
my own state too here, but West Virginia and central Florida, you know there's a trailer
park in this story.
The guy had a fight with his common-law wife, ran over to his mother's trailer. The
woman ran over to his mother's trailer to hide. He was banging on the door to come into
the trailer and the mother shot, fired a warning shot through the door to just tell him to
go home and it ended up killing him.
So we had another case where we didn't have any problem getting the blood sample to
compare, and he was the person that did it.
I wish I could into more, but I swore I would keep to 30 minutes. I'm trying to break
the representation of the mouth from the south, but anyway, there's one thing I do want to
do, this is for me personally because this one of my personal hobbies is I collect law
enforcement lapel pins. There is it on the wall. So if any of you have an law enforcement
pins, please send them to me. I'd be very grateful. Thanks for your attention.
MR. ASPLEN: Again, see what I mean? Now, if I could -- if somebody in the back there
could raise the lights a bit.
As I said in the beginning of the meeting, I think that what we're about to do now it
may well be the more important part of this get-together, and it's the discussion aspect
of it to find out what's going on out there and what the issues are out there.
Let me first ask whether or not you have any questions of any of the three gentlemen
MR. COFFMAN: You can ask about that last case that I skipped. That way I could get it
in. Ask about the last case so we can get it in.
MR. ASPLEN: Tell us about the last case, will you please? No, go ahead. We've got time.
MR. COFFMAN: No. The last case I was going to tell you was it was a case where we had
three rapes one week apart in Tallahassee.
Tallahassee is a capital city college town. This kind of stuff doesn't really happen,
and one of the victims was killed.
The guy would strangle the women to the point of, choking them to the point they passed
out and then rape them.
Well, one woman was a very petite woman and he crushed her throat and she did die. Her
four-year-old son found the body the next morning when Mommy didn't get breakfast for him.
It was a very emotional case for us and anybody, so we did link that the three were done
by the same person.
The crime lab did that. They sent out a bulletin, and you as investigators solved this
case. That's not the point of the story, but when the bulletin went out, a similar case
happened in Orlando where a woman was strangled to the point of passing out, was raped,
but when she came to, the rapist had -- she had fought really hard. He was tired. He falls
asleep. He was there.
So she snuck away, called the police and they came picked him up. They got a blood
sample. They said, This sounds like what happened in Tallahassee. They sent it up, and he
was the one that was doing the rapes in our town that lived in Orlando.
So anyway, we put it through the database right before Christmas before one of our
analysts went on vacation to search, and we matched about six rapes from 1995 in Orlando
that were in there pending to be worked, I mean pending to be matched or solved.
And when it hit the press and was all in newspapers and everything, the paper, the
picture was printed, and for three days I said, I know this person. That face looks
familiar. I can't place him.
So one of the people from our central receiving came and said, Well, David, you know
the guy. That's the guy that delivered your database furniture.
It turns out he worked for the prison industry. You all have Pride or something of that
sort in your state where you have to buy this high quality furniture for the prisons and
for your office, you know.
So he was delivering our database furniture and actually had gotten insulted when I
told him I had to escort him to the lab. He said, What do you think I am, a criminal? I
thought that was a KSA for the job, you know, to work from it.
Anyway, just to let you know, it confirmed our fact that's why we don't leave anyone
unescorted in our lab, and it's just, you just never know. You never know who it's going
to match up to, but that one really hit close to home. Now, do you have any real
MR. ASPLEN: Any questions? Sir.
MR. VUILLEUMIER: George Vuilleumier, National Association Chiefs of Police. Has there
anybody here heard of a case where DNA has not been admissible in court's evidence?
MR. ASPLEN: Yeah. There are cases like that, but actually, it's kind of, it's kind of a
historical perspective, if you will.
Generally speaking we have fought a lot of those admissibility battles and we've won
them. You will still find pockets as new technologies come along where you may have
difficulty getting in whatever the new technology of the data is, be it mitochondria, be
it STR technology, etcetera, but for the most part, absent a particular issue in a
particular case, from a scientific standpoint there aren't any jurisdictions that don't
understand and allow the admissibility.
Where you most see problems in the admissibility of DNA comes not in the issue of for
liability to science, but it comes in the particular aspects of that case and the
particular collection procedures, the reliability of the DNA in that particular case.
DR. FERRARA: I might add we had a case in Richmond. It was a data-bank hit. There was
very -- this was a number of years ago.
To make a long story short, when we reported to the, the results of the hit to the law
enforcement agency and to the, ultimately to the courts, we had reported that the
likelihood of it being, of selecting some other person at random from this was about one
The defense filed a motion to dismiss and that motion was granted, and the statement by
the judge was that one in 2,800 did not rise to the standard of beyond reasonable,
reasonable doubt, and I found that interesting because I never knew exactly what the
numerical value of reasonable doubt was, but that was the only situation other than -
MR. ASPLEN: Sir.
MR. WHITE: Stephen White from Pennsylvania. Is there a list anywhere that I could find
out who in Pennsylvania is the head of data? Is there a list of state by state of who is
the head of their --
MR. COFFMAN: Chris Tomsey is, who you need to speak to in Pennsylvania, and we probably
could -- I think I have a list at my office I could get to you.
MR. WHITE: I'll trade you a lapel pin.
MR. COFFMAN: Oh, that's great. Yeah.
MR. ASPLEN: Any other questions? The one in the back there.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We just had some difficulty with, with a case in Michigan dealing
with Burke and Elmer kits and proprietary information which the company is unwilling to
share and I know that's come up in a couple of other states as well. I'm interested in
whether or not the Commission or ASCLD or one of the members that might be on the panel
are aware of any concerted effort to address this nationally with Burke and Elmer?
DR. FERRARA: Bill Spencer.
MR. COFFMAN: He's not going to stand up.
DR. FERRARA: Bill, do you want to address that at all?
DR. FERRARA: I guess not. I -- to answer that, I'd be speaking out of school. So I
can't touch that if none of the manufacturers are willing to discuss it.
The issue comes with releasing what is proprietary information, and there's two
principal manufacturers of the test kits that we use and I believe that that issue is
going to be resolved in the near future.
MR. COFFMAN: We have a similar case right now that's happening in Florida, and the same
thing, they're having a hard time getting this information.
The biotech field is very competitive, and the, I think from what was told to us in a
statewide meeting we had in Florida where they were present it's, it's the people in the
forensic group of this big corporation convincing the legal group that they're going to
have to do this, and it's not a dead issue, and I think they -- I feel confident they
will, but like, like we said, I can't speak for them. That's just what we were told.
MR. ASPLEN: And you are certainly not alone, you know, aside from Virginia and Florida.
I know California has got the same issues going on. It's a big issue, and I think that it
is so big that, as David and Paul pointed out, there's a lot of pressure being put on the
companies in that regard, so.
MR. COFFMAN: Because the fact remains is there are two companies, and if we start
losing cases because they won't release information, we'll look at the other company.
MR. ASPLEN: Right. It will only take one company to make the change and then that will
resolve the issue.
DR. FERRARA: I think it's an unfortunate decision that would preclude the evidence
because the prime sequence is not released, but that's the courts and we know what we're
dealing with there.
MR. ASPLEN: If I could ask a question of you folks and that's this: Can you give us a
sense of the extent to which your colleagues, folks in your jurisdictions, either at the
executive level or lower have, an understanding of the capabilities that Dave and Paul
talk about and is there an understanding of these kinds of applications? Is there a good
grounding in the database system and the kinds of cases we can solve?
Anybody. I see, I see both this and this. If somebody could stand up and say, Well, yes
or no or hear the considerations. Anybody? I see the heads. Dr. Caldwell.
DR. CALDWELL: Chris, I think the, there's a broad understanding that DNA is available,
but a not-so-broad understanding the more non-urban you get as to what it involves
involving the data collection and preservation, and it comes back to lack of information
and lack of access to the development of technology, but I think the -- if I could toot
the horn of the Working Group, the trifolds that you put out and all of those things are
working that their way through that process and making them aware of the capabilities of
MR. ASPLEN: Thank you.
DR. FERRARA: If no one has any questions, there are a couple of points I'd like
everybody -- you'll hear criticisms of DNA data banks as infringement on, for example,
Just so you're aware, we've been talking, you heard Lisa talk about the 13 core genetic
locations that these data banks use.
Keep in mind that those locations really don't provide any type of medical or physical
traits. They are identifiers as such, but they really provide no genetic information to
the laboratories. Whoever has them, has them.
Now, critics have said, Well, yeah, that's fine and good, but you guys hang on to the
samples and, therefore, what's to prevent you from doing genetic research?
I'm a strong proponent of retention of the samples for quality assurance purposes.
Obviously, as you've heard from this discussion, the laboratories have everything that
they can do just to keep up with the casework and are not about to go around doing any
genetic research, but those are the kinds of criticisms that you will hear with respect to
expansion of DNA data banks, particularly that we're going down the slippery slope as it
were, and the fact does, is important that these don't represent -- these are the best
regulated data banks in the country. They're very well regulated.
Ironically, those same individuals worry about insurance companies and employers who,
of course, as a matter of routine ask for blood samples or urine samples anyway and which
all of this information could be ascertained. So I think it's important to keep that in
MR. ASPLEN: Sir.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Question. What does it take to convert from the RFLP test to the
STR? What does it take to convert them? Is it a test of the sample again or is it just a
MR. COFFMAN: Yes. When we started back in '90, we were, you know, you'd extract the
Now, the one thing about the RFLP, you know, Lisa was showing you the DNA molecule. The
RFLP test actually cuts that molecule up into little pieces, but what we did early on is
we saved a portion of the DNA extracted so, because we knew that the technology would
change, and that's why we still want to retain the samples.
And so we -- like right now it's very easy. It's actually just evaluating the data. We
just take them out of the freezer and load it on our robot, and then it, we can do about
250 samples a day of historical samples that we save the extracted DNA.
So it can be done as long as the sample was not -- you can't get all 13 of the core
loci if the sample was cut up. So you can do that.
MR. ASPLEN: Question in the back there.
MR. WHITE: Yes. I'm John White from Dothan, Alabama. I wanted to say first to Chief
Gainer that a goober is a peanut. Isn't that right?
MR. GAINER: Yes, that's right.
MR. WHITE: And a lugie is I think what he was trying to say. Educated people refer to
them as lugies or oyster for the uneducated people.
What is the possibility that the federal, the federal authorities could assist states
in lobbying state legislatures to significantly and adequately fund our local state labs?
That's the obvious difficulty in Alabama is getting the funding to test our backlog of
MR. ASPLEN: Let me give you a little bit of the lay of the landscape in terms of what's
going on right now and then these guys can help out.
There is an effort afoot in that regard. As I mentioned, and I know that Julie Samuels
has mentioned, right now NIJ is putting out about $15 million for that purpose or
specifically for the purpose of eliminating the convicted offender backlog.
I shouldn't say eliminating. I should say reduce the convicted offender backlog. That
is not monies being allocated for forensic or crime scene samples to be tested and put
into the database; however, the conversation continues and it is anticipated that we will
get another 15 million next year.
However, pending in congress right now there are a number of Bills that would provide
for not just continued convicted offender funding, but also funding for the forensic index
One Bill which was introduced by Senator Hatch, and we'll hear more about this tomorrow
from Tim Schellberg, but one of those Bills is attached to post-conviction regulations.
Essentially if a state certifies that they're doing post-conviction cases or analysis
or allowing that to be done, then they, they can receive the benefits of a, I think that
one is about a $50 million program again for both convicted offender and for forensic
There's also a Bill in the House right now which was introduced by Representative
McCullam who is the chair of the Crime Subcommittee, and Tim would be better at this, I
believe, the Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee.
Now, that allocates about $145 million for both convicted offender and for forensic
index kind of split out over the next four or five years.
So there is a lot being talked about and there's a lot on the table, but it's a
political process right now and it's a presidential election year, so there are a lot of
dynamics that are going on.
That's one of the reasons this meeting is so important. This is the kind of thing that
the voice of the law enforcement community needs to speak about. So those are some of the
things that are going on there.
I guess the other thing that the Federal Government is doing right now is really
eliminating the issue.
By nature of the Commission process, we've been able to give them a lot of information.
We've been able to explain the backlog scenario and, you know, it's an issue that has been
talked about before.
I mean it's not like it's new to the FBI. The FBI as known that this problem exists,
and they have been talking about it also.
The Commission provided a different forum, a broader forum to talk about the issues to
make it a, you know, big public concern and a congressional concern. So that's a little
bit of insight into some of the federal initiatives in that regard.
MR. ADAMS: My position with the FBI would prohibit me from lobbying a legislative
group. Of course, that doesn't prevent me from talking to a group like this, but we're
prohibited by law from lobbying the legislature. I guess that's why you have the
convicted-offender laws and we do not at this time.
MR. COFFMAN: I also wanted to the say this was the first year -- we've been in
operation for 11 years, and we've operated off of grants the entire time.
Well, the first five years we operated on, you know, thank goodness for drugs, right,
because we had forfeitures in Florida, and that's what we operated off on, the Ferraris
from south Florida and the boats and everything else like that, but then we started
getting federal funding.
There is federal funding that is given to called state called Byrne, B-Y-R-N-E, and
it's for law enforcement or criminal-justice purposes, and we've been very fortunate that
we have gotten two four-year Byrne grants. We're in two year of the two second. So we're
operating under that.
You know, use that. I mean, if you have a competing issue going, going up for a Byrne
grant in your state, see what the others are. If one of them is to help your crime
laboratory, you weigh it and see if it's worth, you could maybe back off a little bit and
let them have it for a change because I know in our state until we came along the
corrections usually typically always got the Byrne grants, but not any more.
MR. ASPLEN: Keith.
MR. COONROD: Keith Coonrod, president elect of ASCLD, also director of Toxicology and
Drug Chemistry Services for New York State Police.
A couple of things to answer your point, too, ASCLD is involved and there is what they
called CFS organizations, which is consolidated forensic science organizations whereby the
American Academy, ASCLD, a lot of major organizations have gotten together and what we've
done is we have consolidated our efforts by actually hiring people to assist us in dealing
with lobbying and issues regarding funding of forensic science and of laboratories. So
that's also something going on too to make everybody aware.
The other point I would like to make out that Paul had brought up in terms of retention
samples, one other point is we heard earlier about changing from the RFLP to STR
technology. The fact that we had to go back and reanalyze a lot of these samples now with
STR technology, if we're not allowed to retain those samples, all of those cases would not
have been allowed to be put into the database because they wouldn't have existed.
So as technology changes -- that's one of the other key points about retaining these
samples. Astechnology changes, all of these samples that have been obtained from convicted
offenders would not be available to put in to the new technology databases. That's one of
the other points too that I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of.
MR. COFFMAN: I'm glad you brought that up because in our state as well, not only the
convicted offenders, but our crime labs kept the abstract from cases that were unsolved.
For instance, there was one particular case that originally occurred in 1987, a rape
case, pretty, pretty violent, you know, almost, the victim almost died, and that case has
been worked in four different technologies and the last one was STR and we finally hit it
on. So they kept their cases.
Before our labs, that lab went on line with STR, they worked all of their historical
unsub cases before they announced that they were on line so they could get those done, and
we, I think out of the 30 cases that they had worked they had deemed they had enough we
hit on 15 of them.
MR. ASPLEN: Another kind of point to the gentleman who asked what can the Federal
Government help to do in terms of, you know, our state governments and funding and things
like that. The nature of that question was one of the big issues that kind of developed
the idea for this conference.
Dr. Forman and I were speaking at a national conference of state legislatures meeting,
and quite frankly, we were really giving it to this group of legislators that we were
talking about because we were talking about unfunded mandates. We were talking about the
fact that these legislators had overnight created these databases and had immediately then
thereupon thrust, you know, 20, 30, maybe a hundred thousand DNA cases on to their
laboratories of convicted offenders, but they didn't follow up with the appropriate amount
of funding, okay.
We were really, really sticking it to them pretty hard, and one legislator kind of
raised his hand and stands ups and he says, Let me explain something to you. He says,
Here's the way we work. We're all law and order. I mean we kind of get it. We want to do
the right thing, but here's the way we make our decisions.
We get a list from law enforcement for their allocation and they give us a list of
their top five priorities, and we give them whatever we can, which is usually their top
two or their top three. When this issue becomes part of that list and up on that priority
level, then they'll get the funding.
This conference is not about telling you what your priority list should be. It's not
for anybody here to say you should be doing DNA testing over buying bulletproof vests for
your police officers. That's not the point.
The point is to talk about what the issues are so that you can make really good
educated decisions in considerations like this.
Let me put this picture or face on this issue. This is the scenario that we all dread
when we thinkabout the nature of backlogs and what our real capabilities are with this
technology, and it's something that I know both David and Paul have gone through
Imagine any this scenario. A rapist gets convicted of rape and he steps out of jail
because he has the minimum. Remember what David's statistics are on rape and what we
intuitively know and what we know anecdotally from our jobs in terms of recidivism.
That individuals goes out and after a couple of months he knows what we know
statistically will probably happen. Okay. He goes out and he reoffends.
Let's say at that point our law enforcement officers do their job well, and they go
out. The get a good crime scene sample.
Let's say the woman has a rape examination done. We send it to the laboratory. We get
it DNA tested. We take that DNA test and we run it in the database, but when the guy left
the prison gates while he gave a blood sample pursuant to law, that blood sample is
sitting in storage for two, three, four years is not an common scenario. It's not tested.
It's one of these backlog cases.
What happens when they run the crime scene sample through the database? Absolutely
nothing. There's nothing to hit it against.
What happens when this perpetrator then goes out and rapes victim number two? What is
victim number two? Technologically completely preventable, absolutely preventable, and I
know that both David and Paul have been in the situation where they have had to say to
victims, We're really sorry that this happened to you, but we have this guy's sample in
the system or we had his sample, we just didn't have the time or the money to test it
before he got to you, to your daughter or to whatever. Now, take that kind of microscopic
example and expand it out.
Dwight talked about the 700,000 cases that have been collected, but we haven't analyzed
all of them. Add on top of that about a million cases where we haven't even gotten to draw
the blood from the person in the first place.
The real backlog of cases of rapists and burglars and such who should be in the
database and aren't is well over a million.
People who are out on parole against which society should be protected but aren't by
this technology because of this incredible backlog. That's the problem with, the convicted
Look at the forensic index half of backlog problem and it looks like this: The
Commission did a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum on the number just of rape
kits in the United States that have not been tested for DNA.
Over 180,000 rape examinations have been done on women, which is not a pleasant
experience, and those kits sit on storage facility shelves.
I'm not telling you anything you don't know. I know this. I know they're your shelves a
lot of times and I know it's not because you don't want to test them. I know it's not
because you don't understand the nature and the power of the technology, but that's the
So you take that little microscopic look and you apply it to the broader picture and
you realize the extent to which we're not accessing the power of this database, and we'll
hear tomorrow from Don Dovaston about what they're really doing in the UK and really
expanding the power beyond what David and Paul are talking about.
But that's the nature of the problem, and I say that by way of maybe some assistance
when you need to go and you need to talk to your state legislators or your funding
agencies in terms of what the practical effects of these backlogs really are.
Are there any other questions or any other comments from the panelists? Sir.
MR. SOMMERS: My name is Kevin Sommers. I'm with the Fraternal Order of Police, and I'm
a former sex crimes investigator, and if we lived in a perfect world where we were getting
all of the samples, getting them analyzed and getting everything in to the database, we're
still, we're doing everything that we need to do in the law enforcement aspect, but then
we have to look at the legislative aspect.
We're facing a problem in Michigan where we have statutes of limitations. We have this
technology available, it was touched on earlier, where we can go back 30 years.
I have seen television programs where they do DNA research on Egyptian mummies from
thousands of years ago and are able to do some analysis in that way.
In Michigan, we're faced with a problem where we've only got seven years to build that
case, or if it's a juvenile, it's ten years or until the victim reaches their 21st
Is there any type of a information available -- we're looking to pass legislation in
Michigan, we're lobbying for it now -- where we expand the statutes of limitation? Is
there any information available that we can go back to our legislators and get this
MR. COFFMAN: Well, I was just going to say I'm glad you're moving forward with that
because I believe in 1997 we no longer have a statute of limitations on sexual assault in
After the fourth sexual assault that we were able to resolve using the database and we
couldn't touch the statute of limitations ran ought, we went to the legislature and put
our case in front of them, and there were other issues involved that had been brought up
in past years. We'd like to think this helped take it over the edge.
There are certain rules. They have to report it within 72 hours and that type of thing,
but, bus that's what we did. We basically removed the statute of limitations on sexual
Actually, I was in Washington a few months ago and I heard on MPR that this is causing
a whole discussion even among the legal community because statute of limitations were
originally or at least part of the reason they were there is because of eyewitness
testimony fading over time. If we have DNA, that's not an issue. So it may, it may slowly
resolve itself, but anything we can provide you we would be happy to as.
MR. SOMMERS: I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
MR. ASPLEN: There are a number of states that are addressing the exact same issue you
are, and what we can do is we can try to get you some information on what those states are
so you can take a look at some of their legislation, how they're addressing the situation.
Again, it's a matter of how can the law enforcement community be advocates for that
kind of change, but there's another, and I think one of our speakers alluded to it
earlier, there's another way to deal with that problem, and Norm Gahn is going to talk
about it tomorrow, but you probably heard what they're doing in Wisconsin.
What they're doing is they're taking cases and in a John Doe fashion they're filing the
case not as a John Doe or a/k/a, but they're filing it based on genetic profile which,
quite frankly, is infinitely more reliable than either the a/k/a, the John Doe description
or the person's real name as you think it to be. So that's another way.
For those of you who are concerned, especially if you have particular cases in your
particular jurisdictions where you know the clock is running, this may be an alternative
for you that you may want to consider, and Norm will give you all of that information
MR. COFFMAN: Real quickly. In this session right toward the end they tried to arrive at
a statute in Florida or propose a Bill that would make it in to law that if you had a DNA
profile of more than the population of the United States, the frequency, that the statute
of limitations would not be, would not be applicable no matter what the law, but it got in
Be careful when you work with that. Our attorneys nearly turned in almost a replica of
what Norm did, and he was dealing with a specific case and they mentioned RFLP loci. So be
careful how you word it if you do work on that.
MR. ASPLEN: Any others? Sir, I'm sorry. Thank you.
MR. MICHAUD: Tom Michaud, New Jersey Police Chiefs. Just for my own information,
there's been a lot of talk about funding and lack of funding.
How much more expensive is it to build a DNA database versus a fingerprint database?
I'm not familiar with all of the technical tests and collection that has to be undertaken,
but I'm just wondering, is it twice as expensive, three times or more?
DR. FERRARA: I'm not sure with respect to, say, how much it cost to enter one set of
inkten-print cards in to an APIS system, but with respect to entering a single DNA profile
into a databank, you're talking about something in the area of maybe 60 to $75 per sample.
If that's -- Mark, is that a reasonable figure? That's about the going rate, but I just
don't know how it compares dollars and cents to a ten-print card.
MR. ADAMS: I think the question could be answered that it's considerably more in terms
of technology and the equipment required and the amount of time it takes to perform the
analysis and the cost of the reagents of the chemicals necessary to perform the test for
DNA versus latent fingerprints.
I know that doesn't help, but it's more.
MR. MICHAUD: It does because if a Police Chiefs Association were to put pressure on the
legislative branch to -- if a Police Chiefs Association were to put pressure or whatever
influence we have on our legislators to change the laws to build a larger database, I know
we're going to hear about the funding issue and, so I was asking just so I would have a
general idea of what the opposition was going to be when, when we asked about that. But
MR. ASPLEN: Any other questions?
MR. ASPLEN: We're getting close to lunch, I know. Okay. Folks, thank you very much.
We're not going to call people by rows because we realize people are going to want to take
a break, go out, go the bathroom or have a cigarette or whatever.
I would encourage you though to come back and start to get lunch as quickly as
possible. We do have a luncheon speaker.
There are two doors here also. If you would like to exit out this way, we'll open these
doors up and we'll begin the luncheon presentation a little bit before, by about 10 of,
I'm sorry, yeah, by about 10 of. Thank you.