The State Has Obtained Little Sexual Assault Case Outcome Information, Leaving It Unable to Fully Demonstrate the Benefits of the RADS Program
Justice has not obtained key information on the outcomes of most sexual assault cases associated with hits from its RADS program. As described in the Introduction, Justice has included data fields in CHOP for law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to report case outcome information for sexual assault cases. However, as shown in Figure 2, as of the date of our review Justice had not obtained any outcome information for 278, or 67 percent, of the 417 cases for which RADS provided law enforcement with hits generated from profiles uploaded to CODIS between April 1, 2015, and March 26, 2018. We expected that law enforcement agencies would have reported at least one piece of case information—whether the agency was investigating the case associated with the hit—for all hits that came from the evidence in a RADS kit. However, CHOP contained information on whether the agency was investigating the case for only 114, or 27 percent, of the 417 hits. Justice obtained information indicating the ultimate resolution of cases even less frequently. Although law enforcement agencies reported that they had submitted cases associated with 63 hits to district attorneys for prosecution, district attorneys reported whether they charged the suspect with a crime in only 17 instances, and they reported whether the suspect was convicted in only four instances. Appendix B lists the RADS participants that received hits through the RADS program and the frequency with which they reported key outcome information.
Justice Did Not Obtain Case Outcome Information for the Majority of CODIS Hits
Source: Analysis of Justice’s CHOP data for hits generated from profiles uploaded to CODIS through the RADS program from April 1, 2015, to March 26, 2018.
Note: This information is current as of May 2018, when we obtained the CHOP data from Justice.
It is possible that some outcome information was not reported because the cases had not progressed far enough for law enforcement or district attorneys to be able to report certain outcomes—such as whether a suspect has been arrested or convicted—but it is unlikely that a lack of progress explains most of the missing information. We visited three law enforcement agencies that are RADS participants—Chico Police Department (Chico), Fairfield Police Department (Fairfield), and Fresno Police Department (Fresno)—and collected case outcome data for each case associated with the 61 hits that the agencies received from profiles uploaded to CODIS during our review period. We found that almost all of the cases we reviewed at the three agencies had progressed far enough that the law enforcement agency and the district attorney were able to or should have been able to report key case outcome information. The Table contains the case outcome information that we obtained by reviewing the three agencies’ files.
||IS THE INVESTIGATION STILL ACTIVE?||DID THE AGENCY ARREST A SUSPECT?||DID THE AGENCY SUBMIT THE CASE TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR REVIEW?||DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILE CHARGES AGAINST THE SUSPECT?||WAS THE SUSPECT CONVICTED?|
|LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
||TOTAL NUMBER OF HITS||YES||NO||YES||NO||YES||NO||YES||NO||PENDING*||YES||NO||
Source: Analysis of sexual assault case files and interviews with investigators at Chico, Fairfield, and Fresno police departments.
Note: The scope of our audit did not include a review of whether it was appropriate for cases to progress or stop progressing through investigative or prosecutorial stages. This information is current as of the date of our review in May 2018.
* Pending refers to cases that are in progress. The information we obtained from local law enforcement agencies indicated that the district attorney had not reached a final determination about these case outcomes as of the date we conducted our review of the case file information.
Additional information that law enforcement agencies and district attorneys can report in CHOP directly relates to how much the hit benefited the investigation or prosecution of the case, but Justice also rarely obtained this information. Specifically, Justice asks law enforcement agencies whether they opened or reopened an investigation based on a hit and asks district attorneys whether the hit was used to prosecute or exonerate someone. However, of the 417 hits from profiles uploaded to CODIS during our review period, Justice obtained information from law enforcement agencies on whether they opened or reopened a case based on those hits in only 84 instances, or 20 percent. Further, it obtained information from district attorneys about whether those hits were used to prosecute or exonerate someone in only one instance. Obtaining this information is crucial to understanding the full benefit of the RADS program, which could aid the Legislature in deciding whether to adopt a requirement to test all sexual assault evidence kits. Knowing whether a suspect was arrested or convicted is beneficial, but this information alone does not indicate whether the hit was a contributing factor in making the arrest or convicting the suspect.
In our review of the case files at the three agencies we visited, we found that hits from the RADS program did not appear to directly contribute to positive case outcomes in some instances, but did contribute in others. For example, in one case we reviewed at Fairfield, the suspect confessed to the sexual assault and was arrested before the hit occurred. Therefore, in this case the hit could not have contributed to the decision Fairfield made to arrest the suspect. Conversely, the case notes for another case at Fairfield indicate that the victim identified a suspect she stated had sexually assaulted her, but the suspect denied that he had ever had sexual contact with the victim. In this case, the hit that Justice provided to Fairfield confirmed that the suspect had sexual contact with the victim. According to the lieutenant who oversees sexual assault cases at Fairfield, the hit, combined with the victim’s statement, enabled law enforcement to arrest the suspect and submit the case to the district attorney for prosecution. However, because Fairfield did not report any of the case outcome information for the hit into CHOP, Justice was not aware of the full benefit that the hit had provided. As we discuss in the next section, Justice did not effectively notify RADS participants, including Fairfield, that they should report outcome information.
As discussed in the Introduction, because the RADS program tests all sexual assault evidence kits in the counties it serves, Justice is uniquely positioned to provide insight into the benefits that a test‑all approach to sexual assault evidence kits can provide in solving and prosecuting sexual assault cases. However, because Justice has not obtained most of the outcome data on the sexual assault cases associated with the hits the RADS program has generated, it has missed an opportunity to provide lawmakers and the public with information that could demonstrate the benefits of testing all sexual assault evidence kits.
Justice Has Not Made Sufficient Efforts to Obtain Sexual Assault Case Outcome Information From RADS Participants
Justice has asserted in reports to the Legislature that a change in state law to require local law enforcement and district attorneys to report case outcomes is the only way that it will be able to obtain sexual assault case outcome information. However, Justice has not effectively used other methods to gather this information. We identified key deficiencies in Justice’s efforts that contribute to the poor reporting of case outcome data we observed in CHOP, including a failure to adequately notify local agencies that it expects them to report these outcomes, and a lack of monitoring of and outreach to local agencies that fail to report.
Justice Has Not Effectively Informed All RADS Participants That They Should Report Outcome Data
Although the director of forensic services stated that Justice’s primary mechanism for notifying RADS participants of the expectation to report case outcome information was its memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the participants, Justice did not ensure that all of its RADS participants signed MOUs. Beginning in 2015, in response to our previous audit’s recommendation, Justice modified its MOUs to include a requirement that participating law enforcement agencies and district attorneys report case outcome information into the CHOP system for each case for which the RADS program provided a hit. However, we found that Justice did not have MOUs with the law enforcement agencies and district attorneys from 23 of the 39 counties participating in the RADS program. According to the director of forensic services, 11 of these 23 counties participate in a modified RADS program—a version of the RADS program that Justice operates for smaller counties that submit very few sexual assault evidence kits for testing—and Justice does not require these 11 counties to sign MOUs. However, in the absence of an MOU Justice was unable to provide evidence that it had made any other effort to notify these counties that they should report case outcome information in CHOP. The director of forensic services was unable to provide an explanation for why Justice did not enter into MOUs with the remaining 12 RADS counties, and Justice did not have evidence that it had made other efforts to notify them of the expectation to report case outcome information. Several RADS participants without MOUs did not report any case outcome information in CHOP. For example, Justice does not have an MOU with the law enforcement agencies or district attorney of Placer County, and although Placer County law enforcement agencies received 14 hits through the RADS program, neither the district attorney nor any of the law enforcement agencies in the county have reported any outcome information for the related cases.
Further, among the MOUs it did maintain, Justice often did not obtain signatures from all participating parties, making it likely that even in counties that entered into an MOU, some law enforcement agencies were unaware that they should report case outcome information. Ten of the 16 MOUs Justice provided were missing signatures from some or all of the law enforcement agencies in the county. The director of forensic services stated that he did not know why the MOUs lacked some law enforcement signatures, and that Justice should have signatures from all participating law enforcement agencies in the county. He further stated that absent those signatures he does not know how or if Justice notified law enforcement agencies that they should report case outcome information. He indicated that Justice may have notified those agencies about the expectation to report the information through trainings that Justice provides. However, we identified deficiencies in Justice’s training of RADS participants regarding reporting case outcome information and discuss those deficiencies in the next section. A lack of awareness is a likely explanation for why some of the agencies that did not sign MOUs with Justice have not reported case outcome information. For example, Justice’s MOU with Solano County did not contain signatures from any police departments or the sheriff in the county, and none of those law enforcement agencies reported case outcome information in CHOP.
Of the three law enforcement agencies we visited, only Fresno had signed an MOU. The other two police departments differed in their knowledge about MOUs and the expectations for reporting case outcomes. The detective sergeant who oversees sexual assault investigations at Chico reported that he was unaware of his county’s MOU but knew about the reporting expectation because the previous detective sergeant at Chico had informed him about it. At Fairfield, the lieutenant who oversees sexual assault investigations reported that he was unaware of both the MOU and the reporting expectations. As a result, although between April 2015 and the time of our review Fairfield received a high number of hits compared to most of the other law enforcement agencies in the RADS program, it did not report any case outcome information in CHOP. That Fairfield did not report this information demonstrates the importance of adequately notifying reporting agencies of the reporting expectations. RADS participants are unlikely to report case outcome information if they are unaware that Justice expects them to do so. Justice’s failure to adequately notify all RADS participants of the reporting requirements significantly impaired its ability to obtain case outcome information.
Justice Has Not Provided Training to Most RADS Counties
In addition to its MOUs, Justice developed training on the RADS program that mentions the case outcome reporting expectation, but Justice did not provide that training to most of the law enforcement agencies and district attorneys in the counties participating in RADS. According to the director of forensic services, Justice did not require all local law enforcement agencies that participate in the RADS program to attend RADS training. He also stated that he did not know how Justice would enforce such a requirement, because Justice would test the RADS kits whether or not RADS participants attended the training. In 2015 Justice began amending its MOUs to require the reporting of outcome information and should have then ensured that all RADS participants received training on how to report. This training would have been especially important given that, as we discuss later, Justice has not provided guidance on how RADS participants should enter case outcome information into CHOP. However, as of March 2018, Justice had provided trainings that mentioned the expectation to report case outcome information to law enforcement agencies and district attorneys from only six of the 39 RADS counties. Two of the law enforcement agencies we visited, Chico and Fresno, are located in counties where Justice did not provide training. Although Justice provided RADS training three times at California Association of Property and Evidence events in different locations throughout the State of which law enforcement agency and district attorney staff may be members, Justice was unable to demonstrate how many, if any, of the RADS participants attended those trainings.
We found that even when Justice provided training to a county participating in the RADS program, not all law enforcement agencies in that county received the training. For example, Justice’s records indicate that it provided RADS training to at least one law enforcement agency in Solano County in March 2016. However, the lieutenant who oversees sexual assault investigations at Fairfield—which is in Solano County—stated that no one at Fairfield had ever received training. According to a former criminalist manager (criminalist manager), Justice did not track which agencies attended the trainings it offered for RADS counties. Therefore, Justice does not know which agencies in those six counties attended.
Further, when we reviewed the content of the RADS trainings that Justice provided between May 2015 and March 2018, we found that the trainings were inconsistent in how clearly they described the case outcome reporting expectation. These trainings provided information that described the RADS program and how it reduces the time needed to test sexual assault evidence kits. Some of the trainings more fully described Justice’s expectation to report case outcome information than others. For example, the training that Justice provided to a Vallejo law enforcement agency in May 2016 described the expectation for law enforcement agencies to report case outcome information in CHOP. The training also showed the local agencies where to enter the information and what types of case outcome information Justice expected them to provide. On the other hand, a training that Justice provided to Monterey County police chiefs in July 2016 simply listed “enter case information into CHOP” in a list of the law enforcement agency’s responsibilities and did not explain what specific case information the law enforcement agency should report.
According to the criminalist manager, the reason Justice did not fully describe the reporting expectation in its trainings is that it assumed the MOUs would sufficiently describe this expectation. However, as we describe earlier, Justice did not effectively use its MOUs to notify local law enforcement agencies about the reporting requirements. Further, if it were to reinforce the expectation by training all RADS participants, Justice would likely increase the chances that local agencies would report as it expected. The criminalist manager agreed that explaining the case outcome reporting expectation in detail during training would better inform reporting local agencies about the expectation.
Although the criminalist manager indicated that a training on the CHOP system provided by Justice’s outreach program discussed the case outcome reporting expectation, we found that it did not. According to the supervisor of the outreach program—which provides training to CHOP users, including RADS participants—Justice offered the CHOP training to law enforcement agencies and district attorneys when they registered to use the CHOP system, but it did not require them to take the training. The training focused on CHOP’s functions and how to navigate the CHOP system, but it did not mention that Justice expected RADS participants to enter case outcome information. Staff at Justice who provide trainings on how to use CHOP stated that these trainings include information on how to complete the fields in CHOP, including case outcome‑related fields, but not all training staff mentioned the reporting expectation during CHOP training. Additionally, RADS participants from only 11 of the 39 RADS counties attended CHOP trainings from May 2015 through March 2018.When Justice does not educate RADS participants about its expectation that they provide case outcome information, it decreases the likelihood that they will do so.
Justice Has Not Regularly Reviewed Its Data to Identify the Reporting Agencies With Which It Should Follow Up
Despite the minimal amount of case outcome information it has obtained, Justice has not followed up with RADS participants that have not reported case outcome information. We expected that Justice would periodically review the case outcome information in CHOP to determine which participants have or have not reported the expected information, and then follow up with those that have not. However, it has not done so since implementing the reporting expectation. The director of forensic services indicated that because there is no statutory requirement for law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to provide this information, Justice cannot enforce its expectation of receiving it. He further indicated that although CHOP has the capability to report whether law enforcement agencies and district attorneys are entering case outcome information, Justice lacks the staffing and resources to review this information on a regular basis. However, Justice was unable to provide any analysis demonstrating that it lacks the staffing or resources to conduct regular follow‑up to obtain case outcome information. Because it has not periodically reviewed the case outcome information in CHOP, the director of forensic services acknowledged that Justice was unaware of which RADS participants were not reporting this information. He stated that follow‑up with entities that are not reporting case outcome information would potentially be effective at increasing the amount of outcome information Justice receives.
In the past, Justice has followed up with reporting agencies to obtain case outcome information, with some success. A field representative in Justice’s Bureau of Forensic Services provided records listing follow‑up calls that she made to law enforcement and district attorneys in RADS counties. She believes she made these calls between 2012 and 2014, which is before Justice began expecting RADS participants to provide case outcome information. The field representative indicated that the purpose of these calls was to obtain case outcome information and request that local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys enter the information into CHOP. Her records show that the law enforcement agencies and district attorneys she contacted subsequently reported a significant amount of the case outcome information via phone or email, indicating that these agencies are able to provide the information when asked. The field representative stated that she was unsure why this follow‑up stopped, but that it may have been because of a lack of staff to make these contacts. However, the field representative’s efforts demonstrate that a dedicated follow‑up effort could be effective in increasing the case outcome information that Justice obtains from RADS participants.
Justice has repeatedly reported to the Legislature that the only way it will be able to obtain case outcome information from reporting agencies is if the Legislature mandates that the reporting agencies do so. However, according to the criminalist manager, Justice has not contacted local entities to determine why they do not provide outcome data. If it had, it likely would have discovered what we found when we visited three law enforcement agencies—that not every entity is aware that it should report the information or knows how to properly do so. Through follow‑up, Justice could have ensured that entities that did not report were aware of the expectation to report outcome information. Until Justice implements strategies to obtain case outcome information, it cannot know whether a legislative change is necessary to ensure that local entities report this information.
The Sexual Assault Case Outcome Information That Justice Has Obtained Is Not Always Accurate
The limited data that Justice obtained from reporting agencies contained inaccuracies and outdated information in one key field. When we reviewed whether the three local law enforcement agencies we visited had entered case outcome data in CHOP, we found that 63 percent of Fresno’s data were missing from CHOP, 11 percent of Chico’s data were missing, and all of Fairfield’s data were missing.3 Further, when we compared the information in CHOP to the information we obtained from the case files for Chico and Fresno, we identified inaccuracies in some of the CHOP information. All of the information that CHOP contained regarding whether Fresno was still investigating cases associated with a RADS hit was inaccurate. For Chico, 26 percent of that information was inaccurate.
This inaccuracy resulted in part from Justice’s failure to provide guidance on how to enter data into CHOP, leading to inconsistencies in the way some RADS participants report the status of an investigation. CHOP provides three options for indicating whether a sexual assault case is being actively investigated: Yes, No, and N/A (meaning that it is not applicable). The criminalist manager acknowledged that there is no explanation in CHOP of how to answer this question. In our review, we found that Fresno entered “N/A” in CHOP to indicate that the investigations for some cases were closed. However, Chico used “No” to indicate closed investigations. Because Justice has provided no guidance on how to complete this field, these two law enforcement agencies reported the same information differently. As discussed earlier, although staff at Justice who provide trainings on how to use CHOP stated that these trainings—which are distinct from trainings about RADS—include information on how to complete the fields, most RADS participants did not attend the trainings. Additionally, Justice has not developed or provided a manual that explains what the possible responses in the case outcome fields mean. Because of the inconsistencies in case outcome reporting, Justice cannot rely on the data in CHOP to understand how many of the cases that received hits are actively being investigated by law enforcement agencies.
The director of forensic services stated that Justice has neither developed nor provided guidance on how to report case outcome information because it was unaware that law enforcement agencies and district attorneys needed such guidance. He stated that since CHOP’s development he is unaware of any feedback or complaints from CHOP users and therefore, he was not aware that there were inconsistencies in how agencies reported case outcome information. However, even absent complaints from CHOP users, we would have expected that Justice would have reached out to them to ensure that they understood how to input case outcome information, especially in light of its lack of guidance for reporting that information. The director of forensic services stated that although creating a manual for how to enter data into CHOP may not be feasible because of staffing constraints, adding explanations in CHOP would be a viable option for Justice and helpful to RADS participants.
Additionally, some of the case outcome information in CHOP is outdated and Justice has no process for reminding agencies to update the data. During the investigation or prosecution of a case, some of the case outcome information will likely change. For example, after a district attorney reports that it filed charges against a suspect but before the case has gone to trial, the district attorney may report that the conviction is “pending.” However, after the case is concluded, the district attorney should update the information to indicate whether the suspect was convicted. If reporting agencies do not update the information, Justice may report inaccurate information to the Legislature. According to the criminalist manager, Justice has no process for reminding RADS participants to update the case outcome information in CHOP. She stated that Justice did not develop a process for ensuring that reporting agencies update CHOP information because it believed that the reporting agencies already knew that they were expected to do so.
In our review of the case outcome information at Chico and Fresno, we observed instances in which case files indicated that the agencies had closed the investigations, but CHOP indicated that those investigations were still ongoing. As stated earlier, 26 percent of the information that Chico reported in the active investigation field—a total of six cases—was inaccurate at the time of our review. In all of these inaccuracies, the case file indicated that the investigation was closed but CHOP indicated that it was still active. The detective sergeant who oversees sexual assault investigations explained that the inaccuracies probably occurred because he or his predecessor had not gone into CHOP to update the information after Chico closed the investigations. If Justice had a process for periodically reminding RADS participants to update the information on pending cases, such as through automated messages generated by the CHOP system, it could increase the frequency with which RADS participants update their information. The acting assistant bureau director at Justice confirmed that CHOP has the capability to generate this type of automated message. As the outdated information we observed within CHOP demonstrates, because Justice does not have such a process, it is unable to ensure that it has the most accurate, up‑to‑date information to report to the Legislature.
Tracking Case Outcome Information Could Help the Legislature Identify and Remove Barriers to the Successful Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Assault Cases
The recommendation we made to Justice in our October 2014 report was intended to provide the Legislature valuable information about the extent of the benefits of testing all sexual assault evidence kits. Because of the shortcomings in Justice’s approach to obtaining case outcome information, the Legislature has not had this information available to it in the years since our original report. As discussed in the Introduction, continuing concerns about untested sexual assault evidence kits have generated proposals for changes to state law that would require that all sexual assault evidence kits be submitted to a crime lab for testing. As of the date of this report, none of these proposals have become law. However, if in the future the Legislature amends state law to require law enforcement agencies to test all sexual assault evidence kits, the collection of case outcome information will remain important because it would provide the State with valuable information related to sexual assault cases.
There are many factors other than the evidence available in a sexual assault evidence kit that may affect sexual assault case investigations and the likelihood of successful prosecution of a suspect. Research into the reasons why sexual assault evidence kits have gone untested has identified issues that impair the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, including investigator perceptions of victims’ credibility, their perception of victims’ willingness to participate in the investigation, and limited forensic resources. In August 2017, the National Institute of Justice, which is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, issued guidance recommending that all sexual assault evidence kits be submitted for analysis. This was one of 35 recommendations constituting a multidisciplinary approach among law enforcement agencies, victim advocates, attorneys, and others to better respond to sexual assault cases. The other recommendations included collaborating with victim advocates to ensure a victim‑centered approach when investigating cases and training law enforcement personnel on how to interview sexual assault victims. In other words, testing the sexual assault evidence kit is only one piece of a broader strategy for ensuring that sexual assault cases are properly handled.
Because sexual assault investigations are dependent on more factors than the testing of sexual assault evidence kits, case outcome information could reveal whether other segments of the criminal justice system, such as sexual assault investigative units, are strained for resources, a reality that some jurisdictions have discovered as they have tested sexual assault evidence kits. In late 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded several grants to state and local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys throughout the country to assist those entities efforts to address untested sexual assault evidence kits. Three of those jurisdictions—Akron, Ohio; Fulton County, Georgia; and Fresno, California—are notable because they received grant funding not for the testing of sexual assault evidence kits, but specifically for the investigation and prosecution of the associated cases. According to a city of Fresno report, there are hundreds of hits from tested sexual assault evidence kits that need further investigation, but limited resources make it difficult to investigate those hits. These grants demonstrate that some jurisdictions may lack the resources to investigate hits they receive from testing sexual assault evidence kits. If similar resource constraints exist at other California law enforcement agencies, requiring law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to report case outcomes could reduce the time it takes for the Legislature to realize that additional resources are necessary.
One recent case from North Carolina demonstrates the importance of ensuring that hits are adequately investigated. News reports indicate that in 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a hit provided the name of a suspect in a sexual assault investigation, but investigators did not obtain a warrant to proceed with their investigation. Subsequent to the hit from that case, a 13‑year old child was raped and murdered, and law enforcement charged the individual named in the 2017 hit for those new crimes. The district attorney has publicly stated his belief that if the hit from 2017 had been adequately investigated, the suspect would not have been free to commit additional crimes. This example demonstrates that hits generated through testing of sexual assault evidence kits are potentially helpful in solving sexual assault cases and preventing future crimes, but only when combined with the appropriate investigative response.
Tracking case outcomes for cases with hits could also help policymakers identify factors besides resource constraints that negatively affect the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases. If law enforcement agencies and district attorneys statewide were required to submit case outcome information for all sexual assault cases in which they obtained a hit, the outcome data would show how often certain investigative and prosecution results are achieved. For example, case outcome data would indicate the percentage of cases that never reach the arrest stage and the percentage that are referred for prosecution but never pursued by district attorneys. That information would provide a summary‑level view of where the Legislature and others may need to direct attention and resources to improve the outcomes of sexual assault investigations. Tracking outcome data would also provide public accountability for how law enforcement agencies and district attorneys handle sexual assault cases in which a sexual assault evidence kit generated a hit.
If the Legislature requires case outcome reporting in all cases for which hits are generated from the testing of sexual assault evidence kits, Justice is the most logical entity to receive and report those data. Justice has already been tasked with other statewide data collection efforts related to sexual assault evidence kits, such as obtaining information from local law enforcement entities about their number of untested kits. The director of forensic services stated that Justice would need additional resources to collect case outcome information statewide. As we describe earlier in this report, Justice has not effectively pursued obtaining case outcome data. Therefore, any future effort to obtain statewide outcome data will need to address deficiencies in Justice’s current approach.
If it amends state law to require testing of all sexual assault evidence kits, the Legislature should also require that law enforcement agencies and district attorneys report key case outcome data to Justice for all cases associated with hits from DNA profiles obtained through those kits. Additionally, the Legislature should require Justice to provide training and guidance to those entities on how to report that information, and follow up with entities that do not report. Further, it should require Justice to annually publish summary information about case outcomes.
If it does not amend state law to require testing of all sexual assault evidence kits, the Legislature should amend the law to ensure that Justice obtains and reports case outcome information that would demonstrate the benefits of the RADS program. Specifically, the Legislature should require Justice to do the following:
- Periodically train all RADS participants on the requirement to report and update case outcome information, and on how to properly do so.
- Develop guidance to inform RADS participants about how to appropriately and consistently enter case outcome information within CHOP.
- Periodically review the case outcome information within CHOP to identify RADS participants that are not reporting or updating case outcome information, and follow up with them to obtain the information.
- Annually report to the Legislature a summary of the case outcome information it has obtained, as well as its efforts to obtain the case outcome information.
We conducted this audit under the authority vested in the California State Auditor by Government Code section 8543 et seq. and according to generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives specified in the Scope and Methodology section of the report. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA
California State Auditor
Date: March 7, 2019