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State of Vermont

Senate Chamber

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint Senate Resolution

   By Senators Sears and Bartlett,

     J.R.S. 54.  Joint resolution urging Congress to reauthorize the Debbie Smith DNA backlog grant program at current or increased funding levels.

Whereas, DNA technology is increasingly vital to ensuring accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system, but it is not yet considered a routine tool for law enforcement to use for criminal identification, and

Whereas, nationwide, over 50,000 law enforcement investigations have benefited from DNA matches made through the Federal Bureau of Investigations Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) bringing justice to victims and removing criminals from the streets, and

Whereas, the “Innocence Project” has used DNA in over 200 cases to exonerate persons who were wrongly convicted of crimes, and

Whereas, in 2008, Vermont and other states now have access to the DNA identity materials of many more convicted felons and arrested individuals, and this increased information assists the states’ efforts to solve unsolved crimes, and

Whereas, the demand for DNA testing in criminal investigations of both violent and nonviolent crimes increases as the DNA testing technology improves, and

Whereas, many laboratories still maintain DNA backlogs of six months or longer and are unable to meet the growing demand for DNA testing despite funding commitments from state and local governments, and

Whereas, the federal Debbie Smith DNA backlog grant program has permitted state and local governments an opportunity to begin to maximize the full potential of forensic DNA through backlog reduction, but much work remains to be done, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly strongly urges Congress to reauthorize the Debbie Smith DNA backlog grant program at current or increased funding levels, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to United States Senator Harry Reid, to United States Senator Mitch McConnell, and to the Vermont Congressional delegation.




____________________________              Attested to:

President of the Senate


____________________________              ____________________________

Speaker of the House                                     David A. Gibson

                                                                      Secretary of the Senate





Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont