Just recently, the City of Seattle and the Washington State Crime Lab had finally resolved a dispute that had created a huge backlog of DNA samples. In 2014, the State Crime Lab said they would only accept and test samples from municipals that had incorporated state laws into their municipal code, so samples from Seattle cases sat on ice for five years.
Just this past August, the Seattle city council finally made eight misdemeanor crimes to be the equivalent of state crimes, aligning their laws with state laws. These misdemeanors included such crimes such as harassment, indecent exposure, stalking, patronizing a prostitute, and sexual assault in the fourth degree.
This meant that 650 DNA samples sitting the city's evidence warehouse could finally be sent to the State Crime Lab to be tested and uploaded to an international criminal database of unsolved cases. Most of those 650 samples were from sexually motivated crime cases.
But as reported on September 18, 2019, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has asked the Office of the Inspector General to review its policies and procedures of handling DNA after SPD learned that evidence warehouse destroyed 107 swabs taken from misdemeanor criminals. The remaining swabs have been handed over to the State Crime Lab.
SPD says none of the mistakenly destroyed samples were related to any open cases, but now that they can't be uploaded to the international database, that cannot be said definitively. SPD has asked the Inspector General's office for recommendations to avoid this kind of mishap going forward.
While misdemeanors charges are certainly not as severe as being charged with a felony, they are still serious enough to have a long-term negative impact on a person's life. For example, stalking and harassment are considered gross misdemeanor crimes. But charges of stalking and harassment can be hard to define.
Harassment is described as an annoying behavior that makes an alleged victim feel distressed. Stalking includes following or harassing another person repeatedly to the point where the person fears for their safety. But often harassment and stalking charges are filed in cases of misunderstanding.
Steve Karimi, Misdemeanor Attorney
Steve Karimi worked for years as a prosecutor, so he knows the playbook that prosecutors will use to get you convicted of a crime. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense and don't want your DNA to be collected, you need to provide the best defense possible to preserve your rights. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777 or fill out a contact form to get a free consultation of your case started.