A report by the Illinois inspector general’s office has found that money earmarked to reduce the state’s crime lab backlog was misused by lab officials, according to press reports. The report says that nearly $800,000 in state funds meant to train lab technicians instead went to two private forensic companies headed by the commander of the crime lab. Now a lawsuit brought by two former state forensic trainers also alleges that lab employees were directed to underestimate the size of the state’s backlog.
In a Feb. 6, 2005, press release, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said only 158 cases were awaiting DNA analysis, compared to 1,113 the year before.
The lawsuit cites a different inspector general's report that says the actual number of untested DNA samples should have been about 850 rather than 158, and that state police did not provide the governor with the correct information.
"The DNA backlog numbers articulated by the governor on February 6, 2005, were fabricated," (training coordinator Andrew) Wist stated in an affidavit.
Read the full story here
. (Chicago Tribune, 08/28/07)
Funding and oversight for forensic testing and evidence storage has lagged behind the needs of law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Read about the Innocence Project’s recommendations for crime lab oversight
Read more recent news about crime lab backlogs and evidence storage shortages:
Lakewood, Colorado seeks more space to store evidence
(9 News Denver, 08/27/07)
Idaho State Police Forensic Lab seeks additional funding
(Channel 2 Boise, 8/28/07)
Louisiana legislature adds court costs to fund state crime labs
(KATC, Arcadiana, Louisiana, 8/28/07)