After Criticism, Arkansas Amends DNA Testing Policy


The use of DNA evidence to identify a suspect in the murder of a Little Rock television news anchor last year raised questions about the way the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory prioritizes cases and the speed at which it processes evidence, reports the Arkansas News Bureau. Those issues were the subject of a recent legislative audit which found that crime lab personnel often gave certain cases priority over others without documenting their reasons for doing so. The lab says it will now follow a written policy that sets priorities for testing.

Questions arose last year after police said DNA evidence from a rape investigation in Lee County matched DNA evidence from the home of KATV morning news anchor Anne Pressley, who died in October after being attacked in her home. The crime lab processed the DNA evidence in Pressly's case in less than a month, but it took about seven months to process the evidence from a rape case in eastern Arkansas.

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