In the Rio Grande Valley, some criminal cases are stalled because of an ongoing backlog at the Texas Department of Public Safety state crime lab in Weslaco. Nearly half the cases assigned to the lab are on hold.
Mark Reagan who’s covering the story for the McAllen Monitor, says that amounts to about 2,650 incomplete tests. Many of those tests are for DNA.
“That’s where the heaviest backlog is, is DNA cases – I think it’s about 1,300 [cases],” Reagan says. “The average turnaround for a case is 300 days. The oldest case they have on file is something like 792 days.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How the backlog affects those accused of crimes
– How the Texas Department of Safety blames the backlog on understaffing
– How other state crime labs face the same problem
Written by Savana Dunning.