Colorado lawmakers and criminal-justice advocates called for law enforcement officials statewide to halt destruction of biological evidence in major felony cases while legislative leaders pursue new laws to protect crime-scene specimens, says the Denver Post. “We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right people in prison and that victims can get justice,” said state Rep. Cheri Jahn, who is crafting a bill to preserve DNA and other forensic samples in murders and rapes for decades and provide penalties for trashing it. A four-day Post series detailed how the destruction and loss of forensic evidence in the state and nationwide have undermined investigations in unsolved cases, as well as thwarted innocence bids by prisoners.
“It’s shameful that the DAs have not brought forward legislation to make sure that law changes,” said Rep. Rosemary Marshall. Jahn wants an enforceable law. Some other states with retention regulations, such as Arkansas, make it a misdemeanor to purge evidence. “It’s not just about bringing light to the issue, but putting teeth into it, about sanctioning. I understand that we need to sit down with experts on both sides first, because that’s where we’ll start seeing fireballs from the opposition,” Jahn said.