Bill Text: TX SB588 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the collection, storage, and analysis of sexual assault evidence and evidence of other sex offenses.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-21 - Referred to Criminal Justice [SB588 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB588-Introduced.html
  86R7227 MEW-D
 
  By: Watson S.B. No. 588
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the collection, storage, and analysis of sexual assault
  evidence and evidence of other sex offenses.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Sections 420.003(1-a), (1-d), (7), and (8),
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
               (1-a)  "Active criminal case" means a case:
                     (A)  in which:
                           (i)  a sexual assault or other sex offense
  has been reported to a law enforcement agency; and
                           (ii)  physical evidence of the offense
  [assault] has been submitted to the agency or an accredited crime
  laboratory under this chapter for analysis; and
                     (B)  for which:
                           (i)  the statute of limitations has not run
  with respect to the prosecution of the offense [sexual assault]; or
                           (ii)  a DNA profile was obtained that is
  eligible under Section 420.043 for comparison with DNA profiles in
  the state database or CODIS DNA database.
               (1-d)  "Law enforcement agency" means a state or local
  law enforcement agency in this state with jurisdiction over the
  investigation of a sexual assault or other sex offense.
               (7)  "Sexual assault program" means any local public or
  private nonprofit corporation, independent of a law enforcement
  agency or prosecutor's office, that is operated as an independent
  program or as part of a municipal, county, or state agency and that
  provides the minimum services to adult survivors of stranger and
  non-stranger sex offenses [sexual assault].
               (8)  "Survivor" means an individual who is a victim of a
  sexual assault or other sex offense, regardless of whether a report
  or conviction is made in the incident.
         SECTION 2.  Section 420.033, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 420.033.  CHAIN OF CUSTODY.  Medical, law enforcement,
  department, and laboratory personnel who handle [sexual assault]
  evidence of a sexual assault or other sex offense under this chapter
  or other law shall maintain the chain of custody of the evidence
  from the time the evidence is collected until the time the evidence
  is destroyed.
         SECTION 3.  Section 420.034(c), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  The tracking system must:
               (1)  track the location and status of each item of
  evidence through the criminal justice process, including the
  initial collection of the item of evidence in a forensic medical
  examination, assignment of a unique number to the item of evidence,
  receipt and storage of the item of evidence at a law enforcement
  agency, receipt and analysis of the item of evidence at an
  accredited crime laboratory, and storage and destruction of the
  item of evidence after the item is analyzed;
               (2)  allow a facility or entity performing a forensic
  medical examination of a survivor, law enforcement agency,
  accredited crime laboratory, prosecutor, or other entity providing
  a chain of custody for an item of evidence to update and track the
  status and location of the item; and
               (3)  allow a survivor to anonymously track or receive
  updates regarding the status and location of each item of evidence
  collected in relation to the offense.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter B, Chapter 420, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 420.035 to read as follows:
         Sec. 420.035.  EVIDENCE RELEASE AND STORAGE. (a) If a
  health care facility or other entity that performs a medical
  examination to collect evidence of a sexual assault or other sex
  offense receives signed, written consent to release the evidence as
  provided by Section 420.0735, the facility or entity shall notify
  either the law enforcement agency investigating the alleged
  offense, if known, or the local law enforcement agency not later
  than 24 hours after receiving consent.
         (b)  A law enforcement agency that receives notice from a
  health care facility or other entity under Subsection (a) shall
  take possession of the evidence not later than the 14th day after
  the date the law enforcement agency receives notice.
         (c)  If a law enforcement agency that takes possession of
  evidence under Subsection (b) determines that the agency does not
  have jurisdiction over the investigation of the alleged sexual
  assault or other sex offense, the law enforcement agency shall
  notify the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the
  investigation not later than the 14th day after the date that
  determination is made.
         (d)  A law enforcement agency that receives notice from
  another law enforcement agency under Subsection (c) shall take
  possession of the evidence not later than the 14th day after the
  date the law enforcement agency receives notice.
         (e)  A health care facility or other entity that performs a
  medical examination to collect evidence of a sexual assault or
  other sex offense that has not obtained signed, written consent as
  provided by Section 420.0735 shall provide the survivor with
  information relating to:
               (1)  the facility's or entity's policy regarding
  storage of evidence of a sexual assault or other sex offense,
  including a statement of the period for which the evidence will be
  stored before the evidence is destroyed; and
               (2)  the ways in which the survivor can request the
  release of the evidence to a law enforcement agency.
         (f)  A health care facility or other entity that performs a
  medical examination to collect evidence as described by this
  section must store until at least the first anniversary of the date
  of collection any evidence that is not released to a law enforcement
  agency.
         (g)  The failure of a health care facility or other entity or
  a law enforcement agency to comply with the requirements of this
  section does not constitute grounds in a criminal proceeding for:
               (1)  a defendant to challenge the validity of a DNA
  match obtained by comparison under Section 420.043; or
               (2)  a court to exclude evidence based on a DNA profile.
         (h)  A person accused or convicted of committing a sexual
  assault or other sex offense against the survivor does not have
  standing to object to the failure of a health care facility or other
  entity or a law enforcement agency to comply with the requirements
  of this section. Failure of a facility, entity, or agency to comply
  with the requirements of this section does not constitute grounds
  for setting aside the conviction of a person convicted of
  committing a sexual assault or other sex offense against the
  survivor.
         SECTION 5.  Subchapter B-1, Chapter 420, Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER B-1. ANALYSIS OF [SEXUAL ASSAULT] EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL
  ASSAULT OR OTHER SEX OFFENSE
         Sec. 420.041.  APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter
  applies only to physical evidence of a sexual assault or other sex
  offense that is collected with respect to an active criminal case.
         Sec. 420.042.  ANALYSIS OF [SEXUAL ASSAULT] EVIDENCE. (a) A
  law enforcement agency that receives [sexual assault] evidence of a
  sexual assault or other sex offense that is collected under this
  chapter or other law shall submit that evidence to a public
  accredited crime laboratory for analysis not later than the 14th
  [30th] day after the date on which that evidence was received.
         (b)  A person who submits [sexual assault] evidence of a
  sexual assault or other sex offense to a public accredited crime
  laboratory under this chapter or other law shall provide the
  following signed, written certification with each submission:
  "This evidence is being submitted by (name of person making
  submission) in connection with a criminal investigation."
         (c)  If sufficient personnel and resources are available, a
  public accredited crime laboratory, as soon as practicable, shall
  complete its analysis of any [sexual assault] evidence of a sexual
  assault or other sex offense that is submitted under this chapter or
  other law.
         (d)  To ensure the expeditious completion of analyses, the
  department and other applicable public accredited crime
  laboratories may contract with private accredited crime
  laboratories as appropriate to perform those analyses, subject to
  the necessary quality assurance reviews by the public accredited
  crime laboratories.
         (e)  The failure of a law enforcement agency to take
  possession of evidence of a sexual assault or other sex offense
  within the period required by Section 420.035 or to submit that
  [sexual assault] evidence within the period required by this
  section does not affect the authority of:
               (1)  the agency to take possession of the evidence;
               (2)  the agency to submit the evidence to an accredited
  crime laboratory for analysis; [or]
               (3) [(2)]  an accredited crime laboratory to analyze
  the evidence or provide the results of that analysis to appropriate
  persons; or
               (4)  the department or a public accredited crime
  laboratory authorized under Section 420.043(b) to compare the DNA
  profile obtained from the biological evidence with DNA profiles in
  the databases described by Section 420.043(a).
         (f)  The failure of a law enforcement agency or public
  accredited crime laboratory to comply with the requirements of this
  section does not constitute grounds in a criminal proceeding for:
               (1)  a defendant to challenge the validity of a DNA
  match obtained by comparison under Section 420.043; or
               (2)  a court to exclude DNA evidence.
         (g)  A person accused or convicted of committing a sexual
  assault or other sex offense against the survivor does not have
  standing to object to the failure of a law enforcement agency or
  public accredited crime laboratory to comply with the requirements
  of this section. Failure of an agency or laboratory to comply with
  the requirements of this section does not constitute grounds for
  setting aside the conviction of a person convicted of committing a
  sexual assault or other sex offense against the survivor.
         Sec. 420.043.  DATABASE COMPARISON REQUIRED. (a)  Not later
  than the 30th day after the date [On the request of any appropriate
  person and after] an evidence collection kit containing biological
  evidence has been analyzed by an accredited crime laboratory and
  any necessary quality assurance reviews have been performed, except
  as provided by Subsection (b), the department shall compare the DNA
  profile obtained from the biological evidence with DNA profiles
  maintained in:
               (1)  state databases, including the DNA database
  maintained under Subchapter G, Chapter 411, if the amount and
  quality of the analyzed sample meet the requirements of the state
  database comparison policies; and
               (2)  the CODIS DNA database established by the Federal
  Bureau of Investigation, if the amount and quality of the analyzed
  sample meet the requirements of the bureau's CODIS comparison
  policies.
         (b)  If the evidence kit containing biological evidence is
  analyzed by a public accredited crime laboratory, the laboratory,
  instead of the department, may perform the comparison of DNA
  profiles required under Subsection (a) provided that:
               (1)  the laboratory performs the comparison not later
  than the 30th day after the date the analysis is complete and any
  necessary quality assurance reviews have been performed;
               (2)  the law enforcement agency that submitted the
  evidence collection kit containing biological evidence gives
  permission; and
               (3)  the laboratory meets applicable federal and state
  requirements to access the databases described by Subsection (a).
         SECTION 6.  (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
  section, the changes in law made by this Act apply only to sexual
  assault evidence and evidence of other sex offenses collected on or
  after the effective date of this Act. Evidence collected before the
  effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the
  date the evidence was collected, and the former law is continued in
  effect for that purpose.
         (b)  The change in law made by this Act to Section
  420.042(a), Government Code, applies only to sexual assault
  evidence and evidence of other sex offenses received by a law
  enforcement agency not earlier than the 14th day before the
  effective date of this Act.  Evidence received by a law enforcement
  agency earlier than the 14th day before the effective date of this
  Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the evidence was
  received, and the former law is continued in effect for that
  purpose.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
feedback