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Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Forensic Science Services
Orange County, California

GR-90-02-003
October, 2001
Office of the Inspector General


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, has completed an audit of compliance with standards governing Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) activities at the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Forensic Science Services (Laboratory). CODIS is a national computerized information repository maintained by the FBI that permits the storing, maintaining, tracking, and searching of DNA specimen information in order to facilitate the exchange of DNA information by law enforcement agencies. Laboratories that participate in CODIS perform DNA analysis on specimens from convicted offenders or crime-scene evidence. These laboratories use special software, provided free of charge by the FBI, to organize and manage the DNA profiles and related information. The software also compares DNA profiles from participating laboratories and notifies the appropriate laboratories when two or more DNA profiles match.

The DNA Identification Act of 1994 authorized CODIS and specified several standards for laboratories that contribute profiles to the FBI National DNA Index System (NDIS). Each participating laboratory must certify that it is performing DNA analysis in compliance with the FBI standards governing laboratory operations. Further, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was enacted between the FBI and state laboratories establishing the responsibilities of each party as part of CODIS. The MOU establishes general and specific standards that are to be followed by a laboratory in order to participate in CODIS and utilize NDIS, including the upload of DNA profiles to NDIS.

Our audit generally covered the period from May 1999 through May 2001. The overall objective of the audit was to determine the extent of the Laboratoryís compliance with standards governing CODIS activities. To address the overall objective, we considered:

We found that the Laboratory complied with standards governing CODIS activities that we tested with the following exceptions:

Officials stated that they have recently initiated a proficiency test tracking system that will monitor each analystís examination scheduling status. Based on this information, analysts will be notified by Laboratory management when they must begin their next proficiency examination. In addition, Laboratory management stated that they intend to review all case profiles currently entered into the database to determine their appropriateness and will delete all profile entries determined to be inappropriate.

The audit results are discussed in greater detail in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report. Appendix I discusses our audit scope and methodology. Appendix II provides the audit criteria. Appendix III contains general background information. Appendix IV covers the history and status of DNA testing and CODIS use at the Laboratory.