The FBI DNA Laboratory: A Review of Protocol and Practice by U.S. Department of Justice

By U.S. Department of Justice

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In addition, the DNAUI oversees the Federal Convicted Offender Program, which involves analyzing known DNA samples from convicted felons in the federal system and uploading the resulting profiles to NDIS for comparison to crime scene evidence profiles from across the country. 31 One of the goals of CODIS is to match DNA profiles from case evidence to other previously unrelated cases or to persons already convicted of other crimes. To determine the extent to which this goal is being met, the CODIS Unit has collected statistics from CODIS participants on the number of investigative leads that have been provided through CODIS’ match capabilities.

If the audited laboratory does not respond to clarification requests by the panel, does not resolve an audit recommendation, or is determined to be non-compliant with the quality assurance standards, a corrective action and conflict resolution process can be invoked. A laboratory’s failure to resolve a panel’s concern can result in the termination of its access to NDIS. In addition to these compliance procedures, the FBI created a standardized DNA audit guide (Guide) with input from the Board, ASCLD-LAB, and NFSTC to ensure that auditors of local, state, and federal DNA laboratories are thorough and interpret the Quality Assurance Standards consistently.

Consequently, team members must thoroughly document their work in the case file to establish for the Examiner that they have followed the applicable protocols. According to DNAUI personnel and the written procedures for case file documentation, a case file should include the following: • Incoming submission letter; • Acknowledgment letter (the letter that is sent to the submitter of the evidence to acknowledge receipt); • Communication log; • Chain-of-custody form; • Search sheet (a sheet produced by the ECC advising unit staff whether previous submissions of evidence on that same case have been received, so that individual items can be sequentially and uniquely labeled throughout the case); • Evidence inventories (listing of the items received, the submitter, and when the items were received); • Task-specific case notes (includes a set of notes for serology work, PCR work, and examiner analysis); • Capillary electrophoresis printouts; • Population statistics calculations; • Documentation of case file review; • Administrative sheets (listing information specific to CODIS or DNAUI’s new information management system); and • The file copy of the final DNA report.

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