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Supporting States to Test Sexual Assault Evidence

April 2018

Crime laboratory and law enforcement personnel from three states discuss the value the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership to test sexual assault evidence and obtain investigatory leads.

During this partnership, NIJ is working with the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to test eligible kits from law enforcement agencies and laboratories across the country and develop best practices that can improve the quality and speed of sexual assault kit processing. 

Strengthening Our Nation's Crime Laboratories

April 2018

As technology improves, demand for analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence to help solve crimes grows. This video describes some of the challenges crime laboratories face in meeting this demand and how National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation in forensic techniques.

Wrongful Convictions: The Latest Scientific Research & Implications for Law Enforcement

March 2013

What does science tell us about case factors that can lead to a wrongful conviction? Dr. Jon Gould of American University will discuss the findings of the first large-scale empirical study that has identified ten statistically significant factors that distinguish a wrongful conviction from a "near miss." (A "near miss" is a case in which an innocent defendant was acquitted or had charges dismissed before trial). Following Dr. Gould's presentation, Mr. John R.

Just Wrong: The Aftermath of Wrongful Convictions

October 2017

The strength of our criminal justice system depends on its ability to convict the guilty and clear the innocent. But we know that innocent people are sometimes wrongfully convicted and the guilty remain free to victimize others. The consequences of a wrongful conviction are far-reaching for the wrongfully convicted and the survivors and victims of the original crimes. 

Sexual Assault: Obtaining DNA From Evidence Collected up to a Week Later

June 2009

Technological advances have made it possible to detect male DNA in evidentiary samples collected several days after a sexual act has taken place. Panelists will present the research that has led to these findings, followed by a discussion of the potential impact of this work from the perspectives of the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) and the crime laboratory communities.

Backlogs and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System

June 2010

Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.

Familial DNA Searching: Issues and Answers

June 2011

Familial DNA searching is the practice of creating new investigative leads in cases where DNA evidence found at the scene of a crime strongly resembles that of an existing DNA profile but is not an exact match. Panelists will explain how the technology works, provide examples of successful convictions obtained through familial searches, and discuss the various misconceptions and concerns regarding this practice.

How Research and Technology Are Expanding Sexual Assault Kit Testing

January 2016

NIJ Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences Director Gerald LaPorte and Deputy Director Heather Waltke, along with Heather LaSalle, Forensic Examiner, DNA Casework Unit, and Tina Delgado, Chief, Biometrics Division from the FBI Laboratory discuss how scientific advances can help jurisdictions process a large number of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.