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Gov. Brown Signs New 'Rape Kit' Measures

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

California law enforcement will have new rules governing their collection of DNA evidence from survivors of sexual assault, under three bills Governor Jerry Brown signed Thursday that focus on the state’s backlog of untested “rape kits.”

One measure requires police to hang onto rape kits and other crime scene evidence from unsolved cases for at least 20 years, and to provide sexual assault victims more up-front information about the tests and their rights.

Estimates suggest thousands of the kits remain untested across California, although often because cases are solved without them. 

Another bill Brown signed requires law enforcement agencies to count and report on the reasons for unprocessed kits. 

Some criminologists say creating a database from all kits can help find suspects in unsolved cases, but it can cost agencies $1,500 to test a single one. Efforts to provide funding or require the tests have repeatedly failed in the Legislature.

A third bill creates a voluntary fund that Californians can give to when they file their taxes.

The measures were among 48 new laws the governor signed Thursday. He also vetoed four.

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