Text: H.R.6085 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (08/10/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6085

To amend the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to provide for Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs and to establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
August 10, 2010

Mrs. Maloney (for herself, Mr. Poe of Texas, Ms. Richardson, Mr. Cohen, and Mr. Gordon of Tennessee) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to provide for Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs and to establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry Act of 2010” or the “SAFER Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs.

Section 2 of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14135) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(6) To conduct an audit consistent with subsection (n) of the samples of sexual assault evidence that are in the possession of the State or unit of local government and are awaiting testing.”;

(2) in subsection (c)(3), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting “from funds made available under subsection (j)(1)” after “paragraph (1)”;

(3) in subsection (d)(3)(C), by striking “subsection (j)” and inserting “subsection (j)(1)”;

(4) in subsection (j)—

(A) by striking “There are” and inserting the following:

“(1) IN GENERAL.—There are”; and

(B) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(2) AMOUNTS FOR AUDITING SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE BACKLOGS.—In addition to amounts appropriated under paragraph (1), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General for grants for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2014.”;

(5) in subsection (k), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking “subsection (j)” and inserting “subsection (j)(1)”; and

(6) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(n) Use of funds for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs.—

“(1) ELIGIBILITY.—The Attorney General may award a grant under this section to a State or unit of local government for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6) only if the State or unit of local government—

“(A) submits a plan for performing the audit of samples described in such subsection; and

“(B) includes in such plan a good-faith estimate of the number of such samples.

“(2) GRANT CONDITIONS.—A State or unit of local government receiving a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6) shall—

“(A) not later than 1 year after receiving such grant—

“(i) complete the audit referred to in paragraph (1)(A) in accordance with the plan submitted under such paragraph; and

“(ii) for each sample of sexual assault evidence identified in such audit, subject to paragraph (4), enter into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry established under section 3 of the SAFER Act of 2010 the information listed in subsection (b)(1) of such section;

“(B) not later than 14 days after receiving possession of a sample of sexual assault evidence that was not in the possession of the State or unit of local government at the time of such audit, subject to paragraph (4), enter into such Registry the information listed in such subsection with respect to the sample; and

“(C) not later than 30 days after a change in the status referred to in subparagraph (E) of such subsection of a sample with respect to which the State or unit of local government has entered information into such Registry, update such status.

“(3) EXTENSION OF INITIAL DEADLINE.—The Attorney General may grant an extension of the deadline in paragraph (2)(A) to a State or unit of local government that demonstrates that more time is required for compliance with such paragraph.

“(4) SAMPLES EXEMPT FROM REGISTRY REQUIREMENT.—A State or unit of local government is not required under paragraph (2) to enter into the Registry described in such paragraph information with respect to a sample of sexual assault evidence if—

“(A) the sample is not considered criminal evidence (such as a sample collected anonymously from a victim who is unwilling to make a criminal complaint); or

“(B) the sample relates to a sexual assault for which the prosecution of each perpetrator is barred by a statute of limitations.

“(5) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection:

“(A) AWAITING TESTING.—The term ‘awaiting testing’ means, with respect to a sample of sexual assault evidence, that—

“(i) the sample has been collected and is in the possession of a State or unit of local government;

“(ii) DNA and other appropriate forensic analyses have not been performed on such sample; and

“(iii) the sample is related to a criminal case or investigation in which final disposition has not yet been reached.

“(B) FINAL DISPOSITION.—The term ‘final disposition’ means, with respect to a criminal case or investigation to which a sample of sexual assault evidence relates—

“(i) the conviction or acquittal of all suspected perpetrators of the crime involved;

“(ii) a determination by the State or unit of local government in possession of the sample that the case is unfounded; or

“(iii) a declaration by the victim of the crime involved that the act constituting the basis of the crime was not committed.

“(C) POSSESSION.—The term ‘possession’, used with respect to possession of a sample of sexual assault evidence by a State or unit of local government, includes possession by an individual who is acting as an agent of the State or unit of local government for the collection of the sample.”.

SEC. 3. Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry.

(a) In general.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (in this section referred to as the “Registry”) that—

(1) allows States and units of local government to enter information into the Registry about samples of sexual assault evidence that are in the possession of such States or units of local government and are awaiting testing; and

(2) tracks the testing and processing of such samples.

(b) Information in Registry.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information into the Registry about a sample of sexual assault evidence shall include the following information:

(A) The date of the sexual assault to which the sample relates.

(B) The city, county, or other appropriate locality where the sexual assault occurred.

(C) The date on which the sample was collected.

(D) The date on which information about the sample was entered into the Registry.

(E) The status of the progression of the sample through testing and other stages of the evidentiary handling process, including the identity of the entity in possession of the sample.

(F) The date or dates after which the State or unit of local government would be barred by any applicable statutes of limitations from prosecuting a perpetrator of the sexual assault for the sexual assault.

(G) Such other information as the Attorney General considers appropriate.

(2) PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION.—The Attorney General shall ensure that the Registry does not include personally identifiable information or details about a sexual assault that might lead to the identification of the individuals involved, except the information listed in paragraph (1).

(c) Sample identification number.—A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information about a sample of sexual assault evidence into the Registry shall assign to the sample a unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier. In assigning the identifier, a State or unit of local government may use a case-numbering system used for other purposes, but the Attorney General shall ensure that the identifier assigned to each sample is unique with respect to all samples entered by all States and units of local government.

(d) Update of information.—A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information about a sample of sexual assault evidence into the Registry shall, not later than 30 days after a change in the status of the sample referred to in subsection (b)(1)(E), update such status.

(e) Internet access.—The Attorney General shall make the Registry accessible to the public on an appropriate Internet website.

(f) Technical assistance.—The Attorney General shall—

(1) provide a means by which an entity that does not have access to the Internet may enter information into the Registry; and

(2) provide the technical assistance necessary to allow States and units of local government to participate in the Registry.

(g) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2014.

SEC. 4. Report on best practices for testing and use of DNA evidence.

(a) In general.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall develop and disseminate to law enforcement agencies and other appropriate entities a report on best practices for the testing and use of DNA evidence collected as part of the criminal investigation of sexual assault cases. In developing the best practices, the Attorney General shall take into account that sexual assault perpetrators are often habitual offenders, may commit many acts of sexual violence against both strangers and victims known to them, and may commit other violent crimes and crimes against property.

(b) Content.—The best practices developed under subsection (a) shall—

(1) establish the appropriate prioritization of testing of samples of sexual assault evidence, including samples related to—

(A) cases in which a suspect has been identified and cases in which a suspect has not been identified; and

(B) cases in which the assault was committed by a stranger and cases in which the assault was committed by someone known to the victim;

(2) describe the protocols for appropriately handling and storing samples of sexual assault evidence;

(3) describe the evidentiary value of and make recommendations pertaining to testing all samples of sexual assault evidence, including samples related to—

(A) cases in which a suspect has been identified and cases in which a suspect has not been identified;

(B) cases in which the assault was committed by a stranger and cases in which the assault was committed by someone known to the victim;

(C) cases in which prosecution of a perpetrator is barred by an applicable statute of limitations; and

(D) cases in which forensic evidence has been collected from a victim who, pursuant to section 2010(d)(1) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796gg–4(d)(1)), chooses not to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement; and

(4) make recommendations with respect to notifying a victim that the sample of sexual assault evidence of the victim has been tested, including victims in cases—

(A) that are actively being investigated (including cases being actively investigated after a period of dormancy); and

(B) in which prosecution of a perpetrator is barred by an applicable statute of limitations.

(c) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that law enforcement agencies and other appropriate entities should use the best practices developed and disseminated under subsection (a) to develop, evaluate, and improve DNA evidence protocols.

SEC. 5. Reports to Congress.

Not later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year for which a grant is made for the purpose described in section 2(a)(6) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000, as added by section 2(1) of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1) lists the States and units of local government that have been awarded such grants and the amount of the grant received by each such State or unit of local government;

(2) states the number of extensions granted by the Attorney General under section 2(n)(3) of such Act, as added by section 2(6) of this Act; and

(3) summarizes the processing status of the samples of sexual assault evidence on which information has been entered into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry established under section 3, including the number of samples that have not been tested.