There is nothing worse than being falsely accused of a crime, except if that allegation is of sexual assault against a person or a child. Of the utmost importance at such a crucial time is clearing your name of all charges in the eyes of the law and more importantly, family and friends. In an effort to expedite the process, many people consent to a battery of various tests and submit physical evidence to law enforcement officials. Have you ever wondered what happens to that evidence after you submit it?
In 2010, Illinois’s Governor, Pat Quinn, signed into law Illinois’s Sexual Assault Submission Act. The Act is a riddle of contradicting declaratives. For instance, the Act states that upon receiving evidence from a suspect, law enforcement shall deliver said evidence to a laboratory within ten (10) days. It would seem based on that rule that failure to deliver evidence within ten (10) days would result in that evidence being “tainted” and therefore, inadmissible against a person. You (and I) would be woefully wrong. Deeper into the act is a provision that states, “failure of a law enforcement agency to submit the sexual assault evidence collected on or after the effective date of this Act within 10 business days after receipt shall in no way alter the authority of the law enforcement agency to submit the evidence.” This section of the act effectively negates any mandate that law enforcement officials use due diligence in preserving evidentiary chain of custody and specimen. It would seem the ten (10) day “rule” is more of a suggestion.
What happens to the evidence after it is submitted?
These days, the right of privacy has been abrogated to an alarming amount. For instance, after a suspect submits physical evidence to law enforcement, the results of that evidence are entered into a database, where they are stored. Upon a finding that you are innocent, the Act provides that the results of your physical evidence submission be expunged from the database. Nothing against government employees, but they tend to have a reputation for less than desirable adherence to standards. Naturally, you would expect that if someone who previously submitted physical evidence that proved them not to be the criminal for that crime, but was later charged for another crime using that evidence- due to the negligence of a government employee in failing to expunge the evidence from the database- would be inadmissible against them. Again, you (and I) would be wrong. The law states, “The failure to expunge a DNA record or strictly comply with the provisions…of this Act shall not be grounds for challenging the validity of a database match or database information, and evidence based upon or derived from the DNA record may not be excluded by a court.” Where is the accountability on the part of the government employee?
Should you find yourself charged in any sexual assault offense, immediately call a qualified Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney.