LOS ANGELES, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The sheriff in California's Los Angeles County says he's committing $3 million in next year's budget to help with the backlog in rape kit DNA testing.
Human Rights Watch, the civil rights advocacy group, said the announcement came in a letter it received from County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. The rights group has been researching the backlog of untested evidence in rape cases.
The backlog estimate in Los Angeles County, where the city of Los Angeles is located, consists of more than 4,000 cases.
Human Rights Watch said testing a rape kit can identify a suspect, connect evidence from unrelated crimes, confirm a victim's account and exonerate innocent suspects. Reducing the backlog may move more rape cases through the criminal justice system.
In his letter, Yaroslavsky wrote Sheriff Lee Baca would apply $2.3 million of his fiscal 2010 budget to rape kit testing, and $700,000 to hire crime lab staff to increase the county's testing capacity, Human Rights Watch said. Yaroslavsky also said he has asked the county to find matching funds in fiscal 2011for the program.