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Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2006 Oct;50(5):487-505.

DNA evidence in rape cases and the Debbie Smith Act: forensic practice and criminal justice implications.

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University of North Carolina-Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA.


The Debbie Smith or "Justice for All" Act was passed on November 1, 2004. The act addresses the problem of collecting and analyzing DNA evidence from backlogged rape kits sitting in crime laboratories around the country. Presently, no empirical data exist by which to assess the soundness of the legislation. However, the act clearly affects discrete operations within the forensic and criminal justice systems. This article explores the relative merits of the Debbie Smith law, highlighting changes in Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs, law enforcement, court administration, correctional treatment, and juvenile justice practices. Concerns linked to the likely impact of the "Justice for All" Act raise significant questions about its overall programmatic utility and treatment efficacy.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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