When should a PERK be submitted to the laboratory for analysis?

Pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-11.8, a law-enforcement agency that receives a physical evidence recovery kit (PERK) collected from a victim who has reported the offense shall submit the physical evidence recovery kit to DFS for analysis within 60 days of receipt, except under the following circumstances: (i) it is an anonymous PERK; (ii) the PERK was collected by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as part of a routine death investigation, and the medical examiner and the law-enforcement agency agree that analysis is not warranted; (iii) the PERK is connected to an offense that occurred outside of the Commonwealth; (iv) the PERK was determined by the law-enforcement agency not to be connected to a criminal offense; or (v) another law-enforcement agency has taken over responsibility for the investigation related to the physical evidence recovery kit.

What DNA technology does DFS use when analyzing evidence from criminal cases?

For autosomal DNA testing, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science currently uses Promega’s PowerPlex® Fusion System, which includes the  D3S1358, D1S1656, D2S441, D10S1248, D13S317, D16S539, D18S51, D2S1338, CSF1PO, TH01, vWA, D21S11, D7S820, D5S818, TPOX, D8S1179, D12S391, D19S433, D22S1045, and FGA plus Penta E, Penta D, DYS391 and Amelogenin loci.

What does a CODIS “hit” mean?

A CODIS “hit” can be made by a DNA profile from evidence in an unsolved case matching the DNA profile from a convicted offender or an arrestee. A “hit” can also be made between evidence in an unsolved case and another unsolved case or to a previously solved case.

The fact that the DNA profiles matched is meant to provide an investigative lead to the detective or investigator, to help solve the particular unsolved case. He/she will need to conduct further investigation to determine any possible involvement of the convicted offender, arrestee, or the perpetrator of the solved case to the unsolved case in question.

On what types of cases can a CODIS search be conducted?

CODIS searches can be conducted on the DNA profiles developed from biological evidence in cases where the identity of the perpetrator is unknown to the investigator. In theory, any biological material could yield a DNA profile if there is a sufficient number of cells from the perpetrator.

What is CODIS?

CODIS stands for Combined DNA Index System. It is a national system of computer databases designed by the FBI to store DNA profiles from individuals as well as crime scene evidence. Any DNA profile developed from the evidence in a case with no suspects can then be searched against the databases, and possible investigative leads developed from any matching profiles in the database.

Who is required to provide a sample for entry of the resulting DNA profile into the Virginia DNA Data Bank?

Every person required to register for the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (Code of Virginia § 9.1-903), all individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense on or after July 1, 1990  or certain misdemeanors (Code of Virginia § 19.2-310.2), and juveniles 14 years or older who are convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent on the basis on an act which would be a felony if committed by an adult (Code of Virginia § 16.1-299.1) are required to provide a blood or buccal (cheek cells) sample for DNA analysis, with incorporation of the resulting DNA profile into the Virginia DNA Data Bank. Additionally, as of January 1, 2003, any individual arrested for a violent felony crime (Code of Virginia § 19.2-310.2:1) must provide a buccal sample for DNA analysis, with the resultant profile incorporated into the Virginia DNA Data Bank (Code of Virginia § 19.2-310.5).  Inclusion in the DNA data bank may also be ordered pursuant to plea agreement in Circuit Court.