In a trend, New York authorities are skirting statute of limitation constraints in rape cases by seeking indictments against the rapist’s DNA profile, whether or not he has been identified. In New York City, prosecutors have secured 117 indictments of DNA samples in rape cases, linked 18 of those profiles to specific people, and obtained 13 convictions. The success in rape cases has led officials in New York to expand the use of DNA as an investigative tool for not only serious, violent crimes, but also for offenses like serial car theft.
Many states, including Arkansas, Michigan and Delaware, use genetic evidence as a basis for indicting unknown assailants in sex crimes, said Scott Akehurst-Moore of Suffolk University Law School in Boston. Frederick R. Bieber, a forensic at Harvard Medical School, hailed the effort to broaden DNA's use, saying New York officials have “taken the lead” in pursuing hits between DNA samples and unsolved crimes.