State chips away at daunting backlog of DNA rape evidence — but can’t keep up.

Posted by Keith Hall | Apr 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

One of the ways that the police and prosecution use to gather evidence of sexual assaults are DNA tests.  The Seattle Times recently had an article (click here to read) on the backlog of DNA testing from sexual assault examinations, the article stated that there are more than 6000 kits waiting to be tested. 

It appears that many of these tests are not expedited, due to the perceived lesser need for DNA in those cases.  The most common reason being, that the alleged perpetrator was known to the victim, and therefore there is no need to identify them. 

This makes sense in most cases, since the most common defense to rape is consent of the victim.  If the victim and alleged perpetrator know each other, and they both agree that sex occurred, there will be DNA evidence, but there is no need for it in the court case.  In most of the cases that we handle, this is the case, and DNA evidence would not be particularly helpful to either the defense or the prosecution, since both sides agree that sexual intercourse occurred, it is only disputed whether consent was obtained.

In some cases, however, DNA could be helpful to the defense or prosecution, those might include cases where it is disputed whether sex even occurred.  If one side says sex occurred, but no DNA evidence of the offending party is found, a fact finder might find that evidence persuasive.  Therefore, there are cases where either party may pursue DNA testing, even if the police did not.

Sexual assault defense cases often come down to credibility, and even something as small as a sample of bodily fluid, skin, or hair can tip the balance in these cases.  If you ever need assistance with a sexual assault case, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at Newton & Hall.

About the Author

Keith Hall

Keith is our firm's lead criminal defense attorney.

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