Bills seek moratorium on destroying DNA evidence

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by RACHEL LA CORTE / Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 9:54 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Measures being considered in the House and Senate would impose an 18-month moratorium on destroying any DNA evidence collected during a felony investigation.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall and Sen. Jeannie Darneille, also would create a work group tasked with recommending permanent, statewide standards for preserving DNA material in such cases.

Under current law, there is no requirement to preserve DNA evidence after a conviction, though the defense can seek a court order to preserve such evidence.

The Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington's Law School brought the idea to Orwall and Darneille after reviewing about 70 potential DNA cases between 2011 and 2013 and finding that in 25 felony cases, including those involving murder and rape, biological evidence was destroyed in eight cases, and lost in one.

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