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#ShowUsYourMailers: Mailer From Geneviéve Jones-Wright Calls For Testing Every Rape Kit

Deputy Public Defender Genevieve Jones-Wright shown in this undated photo.

Credit: Evinco Strategies, LLC

Above: Deputy Public Defender Genevieve Jones-Wright shown in this undated photo.

KPBS continues to fact-check campaign mailers in our series, “#ShowUsYourMailers.” We’re looking at one calling for testing of all rape kits.

District Attorney candidate Geneviéve Jones-Wright says she wants to bring justice to all victims. One way she plans to do it is through testing every rape kit.

That prompted us to check the status of untested rape kits in the county and also begged the question... does the District Attorney have the authority to ensure every rape kit is tested?

One place untested rape kits are stored is at the San Diego County Crime Lab, where Mike Grubb is the Director.

When asked if the DA can ensure all rape kits are tested, he said it’s complicated. Grubb said each law enforcement agency that falls under the DA’s scope ultimately decides what happens to each kit based on money, staff and other barriers.

"In non-investigative report cases, we are legally bound not to examine them until the victim gives us the go-ahead to do so. There's also cases when the victim has recanted the case," Grubb said.

Photo by Jade Hindmon

Mailer From District Attorney candidate Geneviéve Jones-Wright Tuesday, April 3, 2018

In a recent attempt to get San Diego County’s decade worth of untested rape kits tested, current Interim DA Summer Stephan said she worked to remove some of the barriers.

She said she pulled $1 million from the County Public Safety Group budget and hired an out-of-state lab to start testing the more than 900 rape kits that had been sitting in storage across the county.

That testing began earlier this year, but Grubb said so far only 200 have been sent off to the lab. Stephan said she is still trying to get more funding. It could take a year to send off all of the kits and get the results back, according to the crime lab.

Jones-Wright, who has made untested rape kits one of her campaign issues, said, "There are funding opportunities from the federal and state government that San Diego County has not applied for in the past that I would ensure we take advantage of in addition to using the budget in the DA's office to show that this is a priority. A good leader puts money where their mouth is."

Stephan, who is running against Jones-Wright, said a federal recommendation from the Department of Justice that all rape kits be tested prompted her push.

Jones-Wright said she wants to see testing all rape kits become a mandatory policy.

“It’s been a constant drum beat for 10 years and we do the best we can given our backlogs and priority system," Grubb said.

Video by Jade Hindmon

Send us the mailers you receive by taking a picture and tweeting it with the hashtag #ShowUsYourMailers or email it to us at News@kpbs.org.

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