84(R) - 2015
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice
Relating to the preservation of toxicological evidence collected in connection with certain intoxication offenses.
A fiscal note dated May 7, 2015 anticipates no significant fiscal impact to the State.
There would be costs to units of local governments for the costs to store and catalog toxicological evidence. The costs and the fiscal impact will vary between entities depending on their overall budget, the number of cases,and the length of time storage is required for the evidence.
According to the Office of Court Administration, some additional staff time would be required by local courts to produce the required notifications; however, no significant fiscal impact to local courts is anticipated.
Senate Bill 780 would amend Chapter 38 of the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to evidence in criminal actions to require that law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories charged with the collection, storage, preservation, analysis, or retrieval of toxicological evidence, defined as blood or urine specimen, retain this evidence for certain periods of time, depending on the case and determined by a court. The defendant and the entity charged with retaining specimen would have to be notified. The entity would have to destroy the evidence on expiration of the period prescribed for retention.
Vote Recommendation Notes
Senate Bill 780 aims at putting in statutes clear rules regarding the retention of toxicological evidence.
According to the statement of purpose, there is currently no code provision for the disposal of the blood and urine evidence in alcohol related offenses, and certain law enforcement agencies have been storing evidence for decades.
Senate Bill 780 would hence limit the time such evidence can be kept by law enforcement agencies and criminal laboratories, by establishing rules on how the retention period is determined and by requiring the destruction of the evidence after this period. In that sense, Senate Bill 780 limits the scope of government. We support this bill.
It should be noted that the evidence that is the subject of this legislation is not evidence that may have value as exculpatory evidence for the potentially wrongfully convicted. This is simply evidence that has long surpassed its need and purpose and now needlessly takes up space in government storage facilities.