config

Tom Cullerton moves to speed up evidence processing in crime labs

Senator Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Tom Cullerton is taking action to help eliminate the backlog of evidence sitting unchecked at state forensic labs.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Sciences.

“Forensic evidence can make or break the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “These scientific procedures are increasingly important in solving crimes. It is imperative that we speed up this process to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly.”

The resolution directs the Auditor General to examine crime labs’ equipment, procedures, and staffing levels with the goal of identifying and reporting to the General Assembly on factors preventing them from compliance with federal rules on swiftly processing evidence.

The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases.

“One of the most important players in any type of testimony often isn't a person but the forensic evidence,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is this report will provide the General Assembly with the knowledge to help give the Illinois State Police the necessary tools to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols.”

This bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

House Joint Resolution 7 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas