October 26, 2008

L.A.'s rape kit betrayal

The mayor, police chief and City Council majority are equally to blame for the 7,000 untested rape kits.

We now know that the Los Angeles Police Department's crime lab is a virtually perfect engine of injustice.

As The Times reported last week, an internal report on the fingerprint unit turned up at least two instances in which shoddy work led to the prosecution of innocent people. Then, on Monday, City Controller Laura Chick released an audit The Times reported last week, showing that the lab's understaffed and underfunded DNA unit has allowed at least 7,000 sexual assault test kits to go unopened. In at least 217 of those cases -- nobody is sure of the precise number -- the kits have been left to sit for so long that the 10-year statute of limitations has expired, so those assailants cannot be prosecuted.

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