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Best Practices for Handling “Cold Hits”

Responding to Cold Hits, cont.

Streamlining Notification of Hits, cont.

diagram of a report being communicated to law enforcement, the court system or prosecutor and the laboratory.

Laboratory lines of communication must be established and maintained between the laboratory, the investigating law enforcement agency and the prosecutors. In the initial stages of responding to a DNA cold hit, the laboratory must be confident that the investigating agency has received the notification. To that end, it is recommended that the laboratory send a form letter requiring the law enforcement agency to respond regarding the actions it has or will take as a result of the hit notification.

When charges are contemplated or formally sought, the prosecutor will become involved in the case. In some high-profile cases, this could happen much earlier in the investigative process. Whenever the prosecutor becomes involved, he or she must be included with the investigating law enforcement agency in all communications from the laboratory.

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