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Widespread DNA backlog still affecting L.A. cases

By Joel Rubin
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Dozens of police departments throughout Los Angeles County routinely have not tested DNA evidence collected in rape and sexual assault cases, and are unable to accurately account for thousands of pieces of evidence that could potentially help solve crimes, according to a report to be released today.

The county's two behemoth law enforcement agencies -- the Los Angeles Police Department and the Sheriff's Department -- have come under harsh criticism in recent months for not testing about 10,000 samples of semen, saliva and other genetic material gathered from victims' bodies after alleged attacks and for letting legal time limits pass on hundreds of cases. The report, produced by the independent group Human Rights Watch, found that the other 47 police agencies in the county are struggling with the same problems.

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