Jul 7, 2011 7:34 PM by Melissa Hawkes
A new law makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to destroy biological evidence. It's one of the only types of evidence that can directly link a suspect to a crime. In the past, some of the evidence was destroyed after a suspect was convicted or plead guilty to a crime.
Assistant District Attorney, Bo Duhe, said, "these law agencies maintain a bunch of evidence and a lot of it is not introduced in court. They physically don't have the space to store it, so agencies will get an order of destruction."
The new law requires biological evidence dealing with certain homicide, rape, and armed robbery cases to be stored whether presented in court or not.
Duhe said, "those are only limited if a person goes to trial and is convicted or pleads guilty under a case called North Carolina v. Alford."
After investigators collect evidence from a crime scene, it comes to the Acadiana Crime Lab for testing. Acadiana Crime Lab Director, Kevin Ardoin, said the new law won't impact how the lab operates.
He explained, "we already store everything indefinitely."
The Acadiana Crime Lab first started performing DNA analysis back in 1998, but they've been storing DNA samples dating back to thirty years ago.
Ardoin said, "after we get done with our testing, we send the rest back to local agencies."
Captain Ryan Turner with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office said having to store all the biological evidence in their warehouse could become a problem because of lack of space.
However, Duhe said the longer agencies keep any type of evidence the better.
He explained, "there are some cases, where you go back and look at DNA evidence and find someone is innocent, but those are in very rare cases."