KUNM

DNA

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

New Mexico has the highest rate of untested sexual assault evidence kits per capita in the nation. We’ve talked to advocates, a nurse and law enforcement about their surprise and struggles with decades of ignored evidence in the state. But even if a prosecutor has DNA to use in court, that doesn’t mean an accused rapist is going straight to jail. The biggest hurdle of all might be how hard it is to convince people that survivors are telling the truth. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

We call the thousands of sexual assault evidence kits in New Mexico a backlog. But as the state Auditor’s Office pointed out in an audit last week, it’s not like there’s just a long line of envelopes at the labs waiting to be tested. Actually, the kits have been sitting around law enforcement departments all over the state for decades. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

New Mexico has one of the worst sexual assault rates in the nation. And thousands of envelopes of DNA evidence that could help identify repeat sexual offenders are sitting untested. We're taking a look at what it takes for survivors to provide that evidence in the first place.

James Tourtellotte via CC

    

There were 5,406 untested sexual assault evidence kits in the state at the end of last year, according to the state auditor. A pair of bills to tackle the problem cleared their first hurdles on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

NM AG Creates New "Exoneration" Unit

Oct 24, 2012

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico's Attorney General's office has created a new unit aimed at addressing challenges to homicide and sexual assault convictions.

The office said Tuesday that the new Just Conviction & Exoneration Unit was created last month and will look at cases where DNA evidence could possibly overturn convictions like 1st degree murder.

Margaret McLean, who heads the new unit, says Attorney General Gary King has received a number of inquiries about DNA testing in connection to appeals of some convictions.