Woman sues over DNA found in rape kit used to arrest her

A woman whose DNA from a rape kit was used by cops to arrest her for an unrelated burglary filed a federal lawsuit against San Francisco Monday alleging police invaded her privacy.

The woman’s DNA, known as Jane Doe, was preserved by the SFPD in a 2016 case involving domestic violence and sexual assault. According to her attorney, Adanté Pointer, the same sample was used to charge her with retail theft five years later.

The lawsuit alleges that the victim’s DNA was entered into a database used to identify perpetrators in other crimes without her knowledge or consent.

“This is state abuse of the highest order, where the most unique and personal thing we have – our genetic code – is being used without our knowledge to try to link us to crime,” Pointer said in a statement .

Attorney Adanté Pointer will address the case at a press conference on Monday.
Attorney Adanté Pointer will address the case at a press conference on Monday.
AP

The lawsuit says the database misused “thousands” of victims’ DNA, although it’s unclear if there were other arrests.

Jane Doe’s case prompted widespread exposure of the practice within the SFPD earlier this year when then-prosecutors Chesa Boudin heard of her arrest and refused to prosecute.

At a press conference in February, Boudin called the DNA evidence “the fruit of the poisonous tree” and an “egregious invasion of the victim’s privacy.” At the time, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he had ordered an investigation.

Prosecutors at the time, Chesa Boudin, declined in February to prosecute the woman.
Prosecutors at the time, Chesa Boudin, declined in February to prosecute the woman.
Getty Images

“We must never stop crime victims from cooperating with the police,” he said.

Within days, the SFPD officially ended the practice of sharing victim DNA outside of the crime lab.

There is already federal law that prohibits the inclusion of victims’ DNA in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). There is no state law in California that prohibits investigators from maintaining victim profiles and later searching them in connection with various crimes.

The SFPD later discontinued its practice of storing victim DNA in independent local databases.
The SFPD later discontinued its practice of storing victim DNA in independent local databases.
AP

In a statement to Bloomberg, Jen Kwart, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Attorney David Chin, said the city “is committed to making all crime victims feel comfortable reporting issues to law enforcement and has taken steps to help.” to protect victims’ information.”

Kwart also pointed out that a municipal law was passed this spring that prohibits the San Francisco Police Department or other departments from sharing or storing the DNA of crime victims in databases that are not governed by federal or state regulations.

Last month, California lawmakers passed a bill that would ban collecting DNA from sexual assault survivors and other victims for anything other than identifying the perpetrator. Local police would also be barred from holding and searching the victims’ DNA to implicate them in independent investigations.

Attorneys Patrick Buelna, Ty Clarke and Adanté Pointer are commenting on the case.
Attorneys Patrick Buelna, Ty Clarke and Adanté Pointer are commenting on the case.
AP
The SFPD could not be reached for comment.
The SFPD could not be reached for comment.
AP

Legislation is pending with Governor Gavin Newsom.

In an article for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on victim DNA exploitation, Litigation Surveillance Litigation Director Jennifer Lynch pointed to other local “rogue” databases, including an infamous “spit-and-acquittal” program in Orange County. The problem, Lynch argues, hinges on how police officers push the boundaries of consent when collecting genetic material.

“A law solely dealing with DNA collected from rape victims is not enough to prevent further improper and unconstitutional DNA searches in the future, both in San Francisco and across the country,” Lynch wrote.

“Any legislation introduced must also address consent issues more comprehensively.”

The San Francisco Police Department, the District Attorney’s office and Adanté Pointer could not be immediately reached for comment.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/13/woman-sues-after-dna-from-rape-kit-used-to-arrest-her/ Woman sues over DNA found in rape kit used to arrest her

JACLYN DIAZ

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