2020 California Code
Penal Code - PEN
PART 1 - OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
TITLE 17 - RIGHTS OF VICTIMS AND WITNESSES OF CRIME
(a) This section shall be known as and may be cited as the “Sexual Assault Victims’ DNA Bill of Rights.”
(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and forensic identification analysis is a powerful law enforcement tool for identifying and prosecuting sexual assault offenders.
(2) Existing law requires an adult arrested for or charged with a felony and a juvenile adjudicated for a felony to submit DNA samples as a result of that arrest, charge, or adjudication.
(3) Victims of sexual assaults have a strong interest in the investigation and prosecution of their cases.
(4) Law enforcement agencies have an obligation to victims of sexual assaults in the proper handling, retention, and timely DNA testing of rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence and to be responsive to victims concerning the developments of forensic testing and the investigation of their cases.
(5) The growth of the Department of Justice’s Cal-DNA databank and the national databank through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) makes it possible for many sexual assault perpetrators to be identified after their first offense, provided that rape kit evidence is analyzed in a timely manner.
(6) Timely DNA analysis of rape kit evidence is a core public safety issue affecting men, women, and children in the State of California. It is the intent of the Legislature, in order to further public safety, to encourage DNA analysis of rape kit evidence within the time limits imposed by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 803.
(c) In order to ensure that sexual assault forensic evidence is analyzed within the two-year timeframe required by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 803 and to ensure the longest possible statute of limitations for sex offenses, including sex offenses designated pursuant to those subparagraphs, the following shall occur:
(1) A law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction a sex offense specified in Section 261, 261.5, 262, 286, 287, or 289 or former Section 288a occurred shall do one of the following for any sexual assault forensic evidence received by the law enforcement agency on or after January 1, 2016:
(A) Submit sexual assault forensic evidence to the crime lab within 20 days after it is booked into evidence.
(B) Ensure that a rapid turnaround DNA program is in place to submit forensic evidence collected from the victim of a sexual assault directly from the medical facility where the victim is examined to the crime lab within five days after the evidence is obtained from the victim.
(2) The crime lab shall do one of the following for any sexual assault forensic evidence received by the crime lab on or after January 1, 2016.
(A) Process sexual assault forensic evidence, create DNA profiles when able, and upload qualifying DNA profiles into CODIS as soon as practically possible, but no later than 120 days after initially receiving the evidence.
(B) Transmit the sexual assault forensic evidence to another crime lab as soon as practically possible, but no later than 30 days after initially receiving the evidence, for processing of the evidence for the presence of DNA. If a DNA profile is created, the transmitting crime lab shall upload the profile into CODIS as soon as practically possible, but no longer than 30 days after being notified about the presence of DNA.
(3) This subdivision does not require a lab to test all items of forensic evidence obtained in a sexual assault forensic evidence examination. A lab is considered to be in compliance with the guidelines of this section when representative samples of the evidence are processed by the lab in an effort to detect the foreign DNA of the perpetrator.
(4) This section does not require a DNA profile to be uploaded into CODIS if the DNA profile does not meet federal guidelines regarding the uploading of DNA profiles into CODIS.
(5) For purposes of this section, a “rapid turnaround DNA program” is a program for the training of sexual assault team personnel in the selection of representative samples of forensic evidence from the victim to be the best evidence, based on the medical evaluation and patient history, the collection and preservation of that evidence, and the transfer of the evidence directly from the medical facility to the crime lab, which is adopted pursuant to a written agreement between the law enforcement agency, the crime lab, and the medical facility where the sexual assault team is based.
(6) For the purpose of this section, “law enforcement” means the law enforcement agency with the primary responsibility for investigating an alleged sexual assault.
(d) (1) Upon the request of a sexual assault victim, the law enforcement agency investigating a violation of Section 261, 261.5, 262, 286, 287, or 289 or of former Section 288a shall inform the victim of the status of the DNA testing of the rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence from the victim’s case. The law enforcement agency may, at its discretion, require that the victim’s request be in writing. The law enforcement agency shall respond to the victim’s request with either an oral or written communication, or by email, if an email address is available. Nothing in this subdivision requires that the law enforcement agency communicate with the victim or the victim’s designee regarding the status of DNA testing absent a specific request from the victim or the victim’s designee.
(2) Subject to the commitment of sufficient resources to respond to requests for information, sexual assault victims have the following rights:
(A) The right to be informed whether or not a DNA profile of the assailant was obtained from the testing of the rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence from their case.
(B) The right to be informed whether or not the DNA profile of the assailant developed from the rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence has been entered into the Department of Justice Data Bank of case evidence.
(C) The right to be informed whether or not there is a match between the DNA profile of the assailant developed from the rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence and a DNA profile contained in the Department of Justice Convicted Offender DNA Data Base, provided that disclosure would not impede or compromise an ongoing investigation.
(3) This subdivision is intended to encourage law enforcement agencies to notify victims of information which is in their possession. It is not intended to affect the manner of or frequency with which the Department of Justice provides this information to law enforcement agencies.
(e) If the law enforcement agency does not analyze DNA evidence within six months prior to the time limits established by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 803, a victim of a sexual assault offense specified in Section 261, 261.5, 262, 286, 287, or 289 or former Section 288a shall be informed, either orally or in writing, of that fact by the law enforcement agency.
(f) (1) If the law enforcement agency intends to destroy or dispose of rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence from an unsolved sexual assault case, a victim of a violation of Section 261, 261.5, 262, 286, 287, or 289 or former Section 288a shall be given written notification by the law enforcement agency of that intention.
(2) A law enforcement agency shall not destroy or dispose of rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence from an unsolved sexual assault case before at least 20 years, or if the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, before the victim’s 40th birthday.
(g) Written notification under subdivision (e) or (f) shall be made at least 60 days prior to the destruction or disposal of the rape kit evidence or other crime scene evidence from an unsolved sexual assault case.
(h) A sexual assault victim may designate a sexual assault victim advocate, or other support person of the victim’s choosing, to act as a recipient of the above information required to be provided by this section.
(i) It is the intent of the Legislature that a law enforcement agency responsible for providing information under subdivision (d) do so in a timely manner and, upon request of the victim or the victim’s designee, advise the victim or the victim’s designee of any significant changes in the information of which the law enforcement agency is aware. In order to be entitled to receive notice under this section, the victim or the victim’s designee shall keep appropriate authorities informed of the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the person to whom the information should be provided, and any changes of the name, address, telephone number, and email address, if an email address is available.
(j) A defendant or person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim shall have no standing to object to any failure to comply with this section. The failure to provide a right or notice to a sexual assault victim under this section may not be used by a defendant to seek to have the conviction or sentence set aside.
(k) The sole civil or criminal remedy available to a sexual assault victim for a law enforcement agency’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities under this section is standing to file a writ of mandamus to require compliance with subdivision (e) or (f).
(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 423, Sec. 75) by Stats. 2019, Ch. 588, Sec. 1. (SB 22) Effective January 1, 2020.)