Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $717,322)
Goal: Reduce the backlog in processing non-DNA forensic evidence.
1. Accurate and timely processing of forensic evidence.
2. Support accredited laboratories with equipment and resources that enhance their ability to process evidence.
The Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) proposes to use its 2016 Coverdell funds to support accredited crime laboratories and medical examiner's offices in reducing the backlog on processing non-DNA forensic evidence. Grant funds will enhance the ability of laboratories operated by state and local units of government to maintain the integrity of the evidence they examine. Funds may be used to pay overtime to forensic scientists, to contract for external processing of evidence or contract with qualified scientists to address backlogs and to acquire new or replacement equipment that will improve operations of the laboratory and support a reduction in the backlog of evidence. State statutes require all crime laboratories operating in the state to be accredited through the Texas Forensic Science Commission (FSC). Statutes also address the requirements for admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings and require that, in order to be considered admissible, the evidence must have been examined by a laboratory that was accredited at the time the evidence was processed. FSC and Texas Department Public Safety are statutorily authorized to conduct investigations into complaints about laboratory negligence or misconduct affecting the integrity of the forensic results.