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Westchester County District Attorney's Office: Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)

The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office (“WCDAO”) is seeking funding from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance for an additional prosecutor with at least 5 years’ experience to add to its newly formed Cold Case Bureau (“CCB”). The addition of a prosecutor would assist the CCB in accomplishing its goal of reviewing all open homicide and other violent crime cold cases where suspect DNA has been identified in order to evaluate the potential of furthering any investigation through traditional investigative tools as well as advanced forensic technologies. The CCB is currently staffed with only one prosecutor who is responsible for over 100 homicide and violent crime cold cases, 27 of which have identified suspect DNA evidence in the Combined DNA Index System (“CODIS”).  At the current staffing level, the CCB is struggling to keep up with its caseload. The WCDAO serves a community of just under 1 million residents spread over approximately 450 square miles and includes six cities, 15 towns and 22 villages. The Office works with over 50 law enforcement partners and the CCB is responsible for coordinating with each of them to investigate unsolved homicides, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes, and to also work to identify human remains throughout the county, to ensure that each case is properly evaluated and investigated.  This is an extraordinary task for one Assistant District Attorney. An additional prosecutor will permit the CCB to tackle more cases with the goal of finding justice for these victims. Finally, closing these cases benefits the larger community by enhancing public safety and by increasing trust between law enforcement and residents by holding offenders accountable for their crimes and bringing closure to victims, their families, and the extended community.

Date Created: September 27, 2022