The No Suspect Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program
Audit Report No. 05-02
Office of the Inspector General
CODIS was first described and authorized in the DNA Identification Act of 1994 (Act). The Act, part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, authorized the FBI to establish and maintain CODIS. That authorization limited records in CODIS to those that are: based upon analyses meeting the FBI’s QAS, prepared by labs undergoing external proficiency testing every 180 days, and maintained by criminal justice agencies that limit the disclosure of the information to approved groups. Access to the national CODIS database is subject to cancellation if these requirements are not met and penalties of up to $100,000 can be assessed for unauthorized disclosure or receipt of DNA samples/information. Each Program grantee signs a Statutory Assurance Certification, stating that they will comply with the provisions of the Act, which in turn means that they must require their contractors to comply with the Act, since the contractors are doing the actual DNA analysis work.
The Act also established the DNA Advisory Board (DAB), an entity that was to compose standards for quality assurance with which CODIS-participating laboratories would have to comply and which the Director of the FBI could then formally institute. The DAB produced one of the key sources of our audit criteria, as described below.
The QAS, recommended by the DNA Advisory Board and formally instituted by the Director of the FBI, are one of the key sources of criteria for an audit of a CODIS-participating laboratory. Two sets of standards have been instituted: the Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories effective October 1, 1998; and the Quality Assurance Standards for Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories effective April 1, 1999.
Our audits of grantee and contractor laboratories included a review of compliance with various sections of the Forensic QAS, since it is that set of QAS that addresses casework analysis, applicable to the processing of no-suspect cases. Further, while the Forensic QAS contain 155 elements organized under 15 headings, our audits focused primarily on 3 of those headings, as follows:
In addition, the FBI has developed an audit document to assist DNA community auditors in assessing a laboratory's compliance with the QAS. This audit document provided comment and discussion on various QAS and served as a source of additional guidance.
The Program Solicitation issued by OJP serves as another source of audit criteria for our audits of the four state grantees and their co-grantees. Per the Program Solicitation, grantees were required to ensure that all analysis of no-suspect cases under the Program complied with the QAS, and that any profiles resulting from that analysis be expeditiously uploaded to CODIS. Further, the grantees were to ensure that their contracting Laboratories:
In addition, the Program Solicitation stipulated allowable and unallowable uses of grant funds:
The OJP Financial Guide (Guide) serves as an additional source of audit criteria for our audits of the four state grantees. The Guide places various requirements on every grant issued by OJP. The following are some of the significant requirements: