Two years ago, now-Attorney General Mike DeWine achieved his position, in part, because he promised the people of Ohio that the crime labs could do better. He pointed to then-A.G. Richard Cordray’s labs and said they were functioning too slowly, leaving a costly backlog of criminal cases crowding state courts and county jails. He would do better. And, according to recent numbers, he has.
The Plain Dealer reports that when comparing all of 2010 to 2012, the time it takes to process DNA and forensic biology reports has fallen from 162 days to 62 days—a significant drop. Slightly gloating, DeWine chose to highlight the numbers of December 2010 and December 2012, proudly stating that changes under him have cut processing times from 125 days to 20 days.
“This is our core mission, this is what we do,” he said at a Columbus news conference. “We’ve always done it well, but we always haven’t done it as fast as we should, and now we are doing it fast.”
The state added about two dozen scientists, to the tune of about $5 million a year, to speed things up. DeWine said the money came from lawsuit settlements and the streamlining of internal operations. They also reduced the number of support staff in other areas to make financial-room for the new scientists.
“I think the trend line when you look at it is pretty obvious—it’s going down,” he told reporters. “We’ve had some rough spots and some months where it has gone up, but it’s been a fairly consistent overall trend.”
The time it takes for a crime lab to process evidence can have a significant impact on a criminal case. And it isn’t only serious crimes involving DNA evidence that are impacted. The Plain Dealer reports that the labs are taking less time on drug evidence as well—from an average of 42 days in December 2010 to 25 days in December 2012.
If you are arrested on a drug offense, and you are awaiting a court date, having to hold out for 25 days is much better than 42 days. You want to put the case behind you, and understandably so. If you are charged with drug possession, drug distribution, or any other Ohio crime, contact us today to discuss your case.