A group comprised of representatives of victim advocate groups, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, the criminal defense bar, local law enforcement, forensic nurses and others will convene in September to consider what categories of evidence gathered by Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) should be forwarded to the Department of Forensic Science for testing, Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced.
A July 1 report issued by the Department of Forensic Science entitled “Physical Evidence Recovery Kit Inventory Report,” pursuant to Chapter 642, 2014 Acts of Assembly, included an inventory of all PERKs in the custody of state and local law enforcement agencies that “may contain biological evidence that were collected but not submitted to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis prior to July 1, 2014.” A total of 2,369 kits were not submitted for a variety of reasons cited by the law enforcement agencies.
“Legitimate questions are being raised in the legal and law enforcement communities about how the decisions to test PERK evidence are made,” Governor McAuliffe said. “When it comes to handling of critical evidence, we cannot afford to let these questions linger. Therefore, to address this issue and to help establish clearer guidelines for PERK testing, I am convening this special work group.”
“This diverse group will bring its expertise in this area to make recommendations on procedures that will ensure the appropriate preservation of DNA evidence,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, who will chair the work group’s meetings.
Here is a link to the full report: http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/By+Year/SD132015/$file/SD13.pdf.