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New Orleans Sexual Assault Evidence Project: Results and Recommendations

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 272 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 13-18
Date Published
June 2013
6 pages
Publication Series
This report presents the results and recommendations from the NIJ-funded study that assisted the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) in performing DNA testing on 830 sexual assault kits (SAKs) that were in NOPD custody when the project began, as well as 178 SAKs that were collected during the project's duration (January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012).
Of the 1,008 SAKs tested, 256 male DNA profiles were uploaded to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), which resulted in 139 hits (31.5 percent); 21.4 percent were hits to an offender who had not previously been identified as a suspect; 1.7 percent were forensic hits in which the offenders was unknown; and 8.4 percent were offender hits between an offender (either known or named by the victim) and the evidence. During the project, 40 sex-crime cases were closed after investigation by NOPD's Cold Case Sex Crimes unit; 16 by warrant, and 24 by arrest. As of September 1, 2012, six cases had been adjudicated. In two of the cases, the suspects were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In another, the suspect was convicted and sentenced to 40 years. In the remaining three cases, the suspects pled guilty and were sentenced to 20 to 22 years. In addition to these impressive judicial outcomes, another success was the CODIS Hit Outcome Project (CHOP) software, which tracks CODIS hits, helping identify bottlenecks in evidence submission, processing, and results reporting. This report advises that the success of the SAK project was achieved through a shared commitment by stakeholders from the Federal, State, city, and university domains. The Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory was able to provide significant assistance to NOPD because the lab had recently implemented new processes and procedures to increase its DNA unit efficiency. 1 table and 9 notes

Date Published: June 1, 2013