Report 2014-109 Recommendation 4 Responses

Report 2014-109: Sexual Assault Evidence Kits: Although Testing All Kits Could Benefit Sexual Assault Investigations, the Extent of the Benefits Is Unknown (Release Date: October 2014)

Recommendation #4 To: Justice, Department of

To report to the Legislature about the effectiveness of its RADS program and to better inform decisions about expanding the number of analyzed sexual assault evidence kits, Justice should amend its agreements with the counties participating in the RADS program to require those counties to report case outcome information, such as arrests and convictions for the sexual assault evidence kits Justice has analyzed under the program. Justice should then report annually to the Legislature about those case outcomes.

Agency Response*

The RADS program has been expanded to 38 counties. Since January 2017, all SAE kits collected under RADS have been entered into SAFE-T.

The RADS MOUs provides that the Law Enforcement Agency will; provide a case number to the SART examiner for all RADS cases, take all reasonable steps to follow up on leads resulting from a CODIS hit, present the case, in a timely manner, to the District Attorney for filing consideration, if applicable, obtain reference samples from suspects for comparison, if applicable, obtain reference samples from consensual partners for elimination purposes, if applicable, enter case information in to CODIS Hit Outcome Project (CHOP) and Sexual Assault, and Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) applications.

While the passage of AB 41 now mandates law enforcement to update the SAFE-T database, the LEAs still do not consistently enter the case information into CHOP because it is not legally mandated.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Completion Date: January 2017
  • Response Date: November 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Justice's most recent report to the Legislature does not contain information related to the case outcomes for cases in which a sexual assault evidence kit was processed through the RADS program. In that report to the Legislature, Justice asserts that despite amending its MOUs with RADS participants to require the participants to report case outcome information, without a statutory mandate for these participants to report, Justice will not obtain the outcome information from them. Because Justice is not reporting case outcome information related to RADS program cases, we continue to assess this recommendation as partially implemented.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Agency Response*

Justice has amended MOU agreements with the counties participating in the RADS program to require those counties to report the number of victim sexual assault kits collected and track the adjudication results for each case.

Justice annually reports to the Legislature data from the participating RADS counties showing the effectiveness of the RADS program. When sexual assault evidence is submitted to Justice as a RADS kit, the kit is reliably recorded in SAFE-T and CHOP by Justice, however in non-participating RADS counties, Justice relies on local law enforcement agencies to provide the case statistics. For those counties that are not participating in the RADS program, Justice is unable to mandate case outcome data for their sexual assault evidence kits.

Assembly Bill 1499, mandating rape kit tracking through the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking Database (SAFE-T), and Senate Bill 1079, mandating the use of the CODIS Hit Outcome Project database (CHOP) where law enforcement agencies can report case outcome such as arrests and convictions on sexual assault kits, did not pass in the Legislature. Despite the legislative defeat, the SAFE-T and CHOP databases have been fully implemented by Justice and are available in all Justice service areas. Unfortunately since the use of SAFE-T and CHOP database is not statutorily mandated, the tracking and numbers may not include statistical data from the non-participating RADS counties.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Completion Date: January 2016
  • Response Date: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Justice's most recent report to the Legislature does not include information that is necessary to determine the effectiveness of the RADS program. Specifically, it does not contain any information about the number of RADS cases, the results of the DNA testing done in those cases, or the outcomes of the associated sexual assault investigations. Also, it does not contain information about whether the outcome of the RADS analysis was the key evidence that furthered an investigation or prosecution. Such information is necessary to knowing how often investigations are assisted by the RADS program and therefore whether RADS is an effective program. As these elements are missing from Justice's report, we continue to assess this recommendation as partially implemented.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Agency Response*

Justice has amended its memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements with counties participating in the RADS program. The amendment will require the counties to use CODIS Hit Outcome Program (CHOP) database in order to report case outcome information such as arrests and convictions for probative RADS kits as a way of tracking progress in cases. The amended MOU agreements were signed by the counties and they have agreed to use CHOP to track adjudication of cases. Justice will submit an annual report, beginning in October 2015, to the Legislature on case outcome information for those counties participating in the RADS program.

Additionally, BFS created a new database called Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) for tracking all sexual assault kits including RADS kits. SAFE-T has been fully implemented but there is no mandate to use the database which is linked to CHOP.

  • Response Type†: 1-Year
  • Completion Date: October 2015
  • Response Date: October 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Justice's report to the Legislature contains information about the status of cases in which Justice analyzed a sexual assault evidence kit through its RADS program and the kit contained DNA that resulted in a CODIS hit. However, the report does not contain information about the total number of sexual assault evidence kits that Justice has analyzed through the RADS program to provide context on the percentage of RADS kits that result in a CODIS hit. Also, for the case outcomes that Justice describes in the report, it does not present information about whether the analysis of the sexual assault evidence kit(s) for that case was the determining factor in whether the law enforcement agency in question was able to achieve a particular case outcome. This is information that would be available to Justice through the local law enforcement agencies that participate in the RADS program if Justice further amends its MOUs. As such, the report does not allow the Legislature to assess the effectiveness of the RADS program. We continue to assess this recommendation as partially implemented.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Agency Response*

Justice has amended its memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements with counties participating in the RADS program. The amendment will require the counties to use CODIS Hit Outcome Program (CHOP) database in order to report case outcome information such as arrests and convictions for the sexual assault evidence kits Justice has analyzed under the RADS program as a way of tracking progress in cases. The amended MOU agreements were sent to the counties and they have agreed to use CHOP to track adjudication of cases. Justice will submit a report annually in October 2015 to the Legislature for those counties participating in the RADS program.

  • Response Type†: 6-Month
  • Estimated Completion Date: October 9, 2015
  • Response Date: April 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented


Agency Response*

Justice has amended its memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement template for counties participating in the RADS program. The amendment will require the counties to use CODIS Hit Outcome Program (CHOP) database, in order to report case outcome information such as arrests and convictions for the sexual assault evidence kits Justice has analyzed under the RADS program, as a way of tracking progress in cases. Justice is pursuing system enhancements to the CHOP database to add additional fields to track the adjudication of a case. These enhancements have an anticipated completion date of April 1, 2015. The amended MOU will be sent to the counties for execution approximately one month prior to the completion of the modifications to the CHOP database. Justice will submit a report to the Legislature in October 2015, and annually thereafter, for those counties participating in the RADS program.

  • Response Type†: 60-Day
  • Estimated Completion Date: October 9, 2015
  • Response Date: December 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2014-109

†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.

*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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