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S. 3250 (112th): SAFER Act of 2012


The text of the bill below is as of May 24, 2012 (Introduced).


II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3250

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 24, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Kirk, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Franken, and Ms. Collins) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To amend the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to provide for Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs and to establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry Act of 2012 or the SAFER Act of 2012.

2.

Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs

Section 2 of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14135) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(6)

To conduct an audit consistent with subsection (n) of the samples of sexual assault evidence that are in the possession of the State or unit of local government and are awaiting testing.

;

(2)

in subsection (c), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(4)

Allocation of grant awards for audits

For each of fiscal years 2013 through 2017, not less than 7 percent of the grant amounts distributed under paragraph (1) shall, if sufficient applications are received by the Department of Justice, be awarded for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6), provided that none of the funds required to be distributed under this paragraph shall decrease or otherwise limit the availability of funds required to be awarded to States or units of local government under paragraph (3).

; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(n)

Use of funds for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs

(1)

Eligibility

The Attorney General may award a grant under this section to a State or unit of local government for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6) only if the State or unit of local government—

(A)

submits a plan for performing the audit of samples described in such subsection; and

(B)

includes in such plan a good-faith estimate of the number of such samples.

(2)

Grant conditions

A State or unit of local government receiving a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(6)—

(A)

may not enter into any contract or agreement with any non-governmental vendor laboratory to conduct an audit described in subsection (a)(6); and

(B)

shall—

(i)

not later than 1 year after receiving such grant—

(I)

complete the audit referred to in paragraph (1)(A) in accordance with the plan submitted under such paragraph; and

(II)

for each sample of sexual assault evidence identified in such audit, subject to paragraph (4), enter into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry established under subsection (o) the information listed in subsection (o)(2);

(ii)

not later than 21 days after receiving possession of a sample of sexual assault evidence that was not in the possession of the State or unit of local government at the time of such audit, subject to paragraph (4), enter into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry the information listed in subsection (o)(2) with respect to the sample; and

(iii)

not later than 30 days after a change in the status referred to in subsection (o)(2)(A)(v) of a sample with respect to which the State or unit of local government has entered information into such Registry, update such status.

(3)

Extension of initial deadline

The Attorney General may grant an extension of the deadline under paragraph (2)(B)(i) to a State or unit of local government that demonstrates that more time is required for compliance with such paragraph.

(4)

Samples exempt from Registry requirement

A State or unit of local government is not required under paragraph (2) to enter into the Registry described in such paragraph information with respect to a sample of sexual assault evidence if—

(A)

the sample is not considered criminal evidence (such as a sample collected anonymously from a victim who is unwilling to make a criminal complaint); or

(B)

the sample relates to a sexual assault for which the prosecution of each perpetrator is barred by a statute of limitations.

(5)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Awaiting testing

The term awaiting testing means, with respect to a sample of sexual assault evidence, that—

(i)

the sample has been collected and is in the possession of a State or unit of local government;

(ii)

DNA and other appropriate forensic analyses have not been performed on such sample; and

(iii)

the sample is related to a criminal case or investigation in which final disposition has not yet been reached.

(B)

Final disposition

The term final disposition means, with respect to a criminal case or investigation to which a sample of sexual assault evidence relates—

(i)

the conviction or acquittal of all suspected perpetrators of the crime involved;

(ii)

a determination by the State or unit of local government in possession of the sample that the case is unfounded; or

(iii)

a declaration by the victim of the crime involved that the act constituting the basis of the crime was not committed.

(C)

Possession

(i)

In general

The term possession, used with respect to possession of a sample of sexual assault evidence by a State or unit of local government, includes possession by an individual who is acting as an agent of the State or unit of local government for the collection of the sample.

(ii)

Rule of construction

Nothing in clause (i) shall be construed to create or amend any Federal rights or privileges for non-governmental vendor laboratories described in regulations promulgated under section 210303 of the DNA Identification Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14131).

.

3.

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry

(a)

In general

Section 2 of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14135), as amended by section 2, is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(o)

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry

(1)

In general

Subject to subsection (j), not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the SAFER Act of 2012, the Attorney General shall establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (in this subsection referred to as the Registry) that—

(A)

is administered by the Department of Justice;

(B)

allows States and units of local government to enter information into the Registry about samples of sexual assault evidence that are in the possession of such States or units of local government and are awaiting testing; and

(C)

tracks the testing and processing of such samples.

(2)

Information in Registry

(A)

In general

A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information into the Registry about a sample of sexual assault evidence shall include the following information:

(i)

The date of the sexual assault to which the sample relates.

(ii)

The city, county, or other appropriate locality in which the sexual assault occurred.

(iii)

The date on which the sample was collected.

(iv)

The date on which information relating to the sample was entered into the Registry.

(v)

The status of the progression of the sample through testing and other stages of the evidentiary handling process, limited to the following information:

(I)

The identity of the entity in possession of the sample of untested sexual assault evidence.

(II)

The identification of the sample of untested sexual assault evidence by the State or unit of local government.

(III)

The submission of the sample of untested sexual assault evidence to a laboratory for analysis, or the decision of the State or unit of local government to indefinitely refrain from submitting the sample.

(IV)

The completion of the analysis of the sample of untested sexual assault evidence, or the decision of the State or unit of local government to indefinitely refrain from analyzing the sample of untested sexual assault evidence.

(vi)

The date or dates after which the State or unit of local government would be barred by any applicable statutes of limitations from prosecuting a perpetrator of the sexual assault for the sexual assault.

(B)

Personally identifiable information

The Attorney General shall ensure that the Registry does not include personally identifiable information or details about a sexual assault that might lead to the identification of the individuals involved, except for the information listed in subparagraph (A).

(3)

Sample identification number

(A)

In general

A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information about a sample of sexual assault evidence into the Registry shall assign to the sample a unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier.

(B)

Unique identifier required

In assigning the identifier under subparagraph (A), a State or unit of local government may use a case-numbering system used for other purposes, but the Attorney General shall ensure that the identifier assigned to each sample is unique with respect to all samples entered by all States and units of local government.

(4)

Update of information

A State or unit of local government that chooses to enter information about a sample of sexual assault evidence into the Registry shall, not later than 30 days after a change in the status of the sample referred to in paragraph (2)(A)(v), update such status.

(5)

Internet access

The Attorney General shall make publicly available, on an appropriate Internet website, aggregate non-individualized and non-personally identifying data compiled from information required to be entered into the Registry under paragraph (2)(A), to allow for comparison of backlog data by State and unit of local government.

(6)

Technical assistance

The Attorney General shall—

(A)

provide a means by which an entity that does not have access to the Internet may enter information into the Registry; and

(B)

provide the technical assistance necessary to allow States and units of local government to participate in the Registry.

(7)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require that any State or unit of local government participate in the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry established under this subsection unless the State or unit of local government—

(A)

accepts a grant awarded under subsection (n); or

(B)

the State or unit of local government expressly agrees to participate in the registry in accordance with this conditions enumerated in this subsection.

.

(b)

Funding

Section 2(j) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14135(j)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting and for carrying out subsection (o) after for grants under subsection (a); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new sentence: For each of fiscal years 2013 through 2017, not less than 1 percent of the amount authorized to be appropriated under the previous sentence for such fiscal year shall be for carrying out subsection (o).

4.

Reports to Congress

Not later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year for which a grant is made for the purpose described in section 2(a)(6) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000, as by section 2, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1)

lists the States and units of local government that have been awarded such grants and the amount of the grant received by each such State or unit of local government;

(2)

states the number of extensions granted by the Attorney General under section 2(n)(3) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000, as added by section 2; and

(3)

summarizes the processing status of the samples of sexual assault evidence about which information has been entered into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry established under section 2(o) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000, as added by section 3(a), including the number of samples that have not been tested.

5.

Reducing the rape kit backlog

Section 2(c)(3) of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14135(c)(3)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (B), by striking 2014 and inserting 2017; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(C)

For each of fiscal years 2013 through 2017, not less than 75 percent of the total grant amounts shall be awarded for a combination of purposes under paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (a).

.