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Rape evidence shelved? Detroit police handling of sex assault kits troubles Worthy

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 11:02 PM
Original message
Rape evidence shelved? Detroit police handling of sex assault kits troubles Worthy
Edited on Mon Sep-21-09 11:08 PM by Bozita
Source: Detroit Free Press

POSTED: 8 P.M. SEPT. 21, 2009 | UPDATED: 10:21 P.M. TODAY
Rape evidence shelved?
Detroit police handling of sex assault kits troubles Worthy

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants an independent investigation into what she says may be thousands of kits holding evidence of possible sexual assaults that were found in a Detroit Police Department evidence storage facility.

In a Sept. 8 letter to Police Chief Warren Evans, Worthy said there may be more than 10,000 so-called rape kits and hundreds of other pieces of evidence warehoused, unanalyzed, in a police "overflow property room." The situation raises fears that cases could be affected if the evidence is challenged in court, Worthy said.


"We don't know how many of the kits were analyzed or not analyzed," Akans said.

Worthy also raised questions in her letter about the department's practices in entering information in rape and other criminal cases into a national DNA databank.

William Winters III, president of the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association, said Worthy's concerns are justified, given the lab's history and the implications for the national databank. "This can affect the whole country," Winters said.



I don't think Detroit's alone on this one.
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HardWorkingDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:52 AM
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1. Sorry, but a lot of people might be surprised at a lot of things involving these kits
Now, don't misunderstand me - I can't speak for Detroit and their practices and in no way am I condoning a single sexual assault kit should be over looked when it should be examined. However, there are many instances when these kits do end up being warehoused and properly so.

It is not uncommon for many of these incidents to be unfounded. From personal experience, I can't put a number on how many incidetns I am aware of where the incident was unfounded - a young teen stays out too late with her boyfriend and reports an attack; or other consensual behavior is hidden for a variety of reasons.

Also, believe it or not, some jurisdictions have requirements for testing based on consent issues. (For example, if both parties agree the content did happen and consent is the issue, then a jurisdiction may or may not further examine the kit).

But PLEASE, PLEASE, do believe I'm stating there is not an under reporting of these terrible assaults or that mistakes, by malfeasance or incompetence, do not happen. They do. But to throw out these thousands and thousands of numbers as a group is not the way to bring light upon these problems.

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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
2. Mishandling of evidence is part of the process nation wide that
deserves to be investigated. The discredited Detroit Police Department crime lab continues to haunt the criminal justice system a year after it was closed because of errors and mishandled evidence.
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