California Ready to Expand Familial DNA Searches
Monday, May 09, 2011
Attorney General Kamala Harris has increased the budget to double the number of DNA Familial searches in rape, murder and cold case, and to reduce a DNA backlog. During a recent interview Harris stated that "California is on the cutting edge of this in many ways. I think we are going to be a model for the country. I really do."
California has had two successes with familial DNA searching. In July 2010, it led to the arrest of the East Los Angeles serial killer, Lonnie Franklin Jr., 57. And in March 2011 it led to the arrest of a rapist, Elvis Garcia, 21, in Santa Cruz. California does not permit familial DNA searching in the arrestee database, but only in the state's offender DNA Database. Jill Spriggs, head of the state's Bureau of Forensic Services, said that the California's Justice Department receives a handful of police requests for familial searches and these requests vary from month to month. According to Spriggs, California is working on its 18th request.
Familial DNA searching, which is performed in Great-Britain, Australia and New Zealand, has a 10% to 14% success rate, according to countries that use the technique. California's rate so far is about 11%. Virginia recently joined California and Colorado in permitting such genetic DNA searches.
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