By Jim Hilgen 9:31pm, September 5, 2013 - Updated 9:38pm, September 5, 2013Washington is kicking in some money to help Delaware with its backlog of DNA evidence.
Some 400 thousand dollars in federal grants will help the state medical examiner's office expedite its processing of DNA evidence.
Senator Chris Coons pushed for the grant money.
He says the lack of prompt handling of DNA evidence is a major challenge that needs to be addressed.
"This DNA backlog, in my view, weakens our criminal justice system, and weakens our democracy as a whole. That's why today's grant announcement is an important step for Delaware and for our criminal justice system," says Coons.
Senator Tom Carper says speeding up the processing of DNA evidence is the right thing to do for both victims and the accused.
"Enable us to bring those who commit crimes to justice in a more timely way. What's the old saying? Justice delayed is justice denied", says Carper.
Senator Coons agrees that a speedy process is the best way to ensure justice is served.
"This federal funding will help Delaware to process DNA samples faster and more accurately. It will help ensure that the professionals here have the tools they need to process DNA in a timely, thorough and responsible way," Coons says.
Robyn Quinn, a lab manager with the state Medical Examiner's office explains the money will be used to put data they collect into the national system, so it can be cross-referenced.
"We're the state national DNA index system for the State of Delaware, so all of our convicted offenders go into this database along with our evidentiary samples, and then it gets searched weekly and on the national level with labs across the country," says Quinn.
The funding will help the medical examiner’s office purchase new equipment and hire additional trained personnel to process DNA evidence.
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