Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $477,539)
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) seeks funding under this solicitation for the review, location of evidence, and DNA analysis of hair comparison cases worked by the agency between the years of 1975 and 2000. During this period of time, hair comparisons were routine analysis in Forensic Biology cases. During the late 1990's, the OSBI implemented DNA analysis which changed the approach to how these cases were worked and the evidence examined. Some of these previous cases have been shown, through the DNA process, to contain evidence that may exonerate a subject previously convicted on charges related to the case based primarily on the testimony of hair examiners.
In 2016, the OSBI began a review of these cases with the help of volunteers; however, the process has been slow. To date, approximately 2,100 cases have been reviewed, but none have been processed through DNA. To remedy this and speed the process, the OSBI is seeking funds for computer review workstations, four temporary personnel, and overtime for existing personnel. The four temporary personnel will be dedicated to the project and will assist with review of cases, location of evidence, and the maintenance of the in-house database used to track the progress of case review. Overtime for existing personnel will be used to review cases, locate evidence, and analyze evidence through DNA.
The OSBI is seeking through this solicitation, to provide funding to the areas listed above. If an award is granted, the OSBI anticipates reviewing approximately 5,000 cases and analyzing roughly 50 cases for DNA at per case cost of approximately $100. The project timeframe will be two years from the release of funds. The first three months will be focused on purchasing workstations, hiring the temporary personnel, and training on the use of the in-house database. The next twenty-one months will be dedicated to the review of cases, location of evidence, and analysis of cases for DNA.
The OSBI anticipates this project will have a profound impact on the criminal justice community in Oklahoma. Using DNA to confirm the identity of a subject in a case or identify those wrongly convicted due to hair comparisons that have been deemed fallible, will allow the criminal justice community to provide justice for both the victims and subjects in these cases. Questions regarding the evidence related to these cases will be fully answered. CA/NCF