Spotlight: Bill sets deadline on rape kits

Wisconsin Spotlight | Jan. 6, 2023

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — A bill that would set a deadline for the State Crime Lab to process sexual assault kits aims to timely complete the critical chain of evidence. 

“Until now, every entity involved in the processing of a sexual assault kit has had a timeline it must adhere to, except the Department of Justice,” said Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard), who co-authored the legislation with Sen. Jesse James (R- Altoona)  “Victims deserve the swiftest possible course of action by the state. This legislation is the necessary, final step to ensuring the timely processing of sexual assault kits at every point in the process, from beginning to end.”

The legislation requires the Crime Lab begin processing a kit within five days of receiving it from a law enforcement agency and complete the process within 60 days. It also specifies the situations in which these deadlines are applicable, including situations in which consent to process has been granted and the identity of the perpetrator is not known, kits collected as part of a law enforcement-determined suspicious death, and kits that have been requested in writing by law enforcement, district attorneys, and others who are authorized under statute to request the lab to conduct an investigation.

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