VA ELIMINATES BACKLOG OF UNTESTED RAPE KITS
Untested rape kits have been a national problem for which prosecutors and police have been criticized in recent years, in part due to victims like Debbie Smith. The Williamsburg woman became a national symbol of the problem after her own rape evidence kit went untested for six years. A test ultimately led to an arrest and conviction. Smith’s was one of some 2,600 in Virginia.
According to Attorney General Mark Herring, who spearheaded the effort, “The law enforcement agencies who have hits will now begin to reopen their cases and investigate, so we’re anticipating that there could be more charges in the future as those investigations continue.” So far, tests on 851 of those kits resulted in DNA profiles that were entered into CODIS, the national combined DNA index system, and 354 of those profiles resulted in “hits”: names sent to local law enforcement for further investigation.
Laws no require police to submit kits to the state crime lab within 60 days, a procedure that should prevent a backlog from recurring, and victims can now track the progress of testing on their kits.
When justice is not delayed, it is not denied.
GUN-TOTIN’ AMANDA TOO MUCH FOR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-11th), the sole announced candidate for the 2021 Republican gubernatorial nomination, was disinvited from a speaking engagement at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce last week.
A statement by the new chair of the Chamber explained that former Chamber chairs had recommended that Chase be disinvited due to “recent actions and statements related to the removal of Confederate monuments, erasing white history claims, and Chase’s actions to aggressively spread a hoax that rioters were crossing the James River to attack the white citizens of Chesterfield County.” The new chair went on, “the statements and actions by Senator Chase are contrary to the Chambers’ core values. We condemn these statements and actions by Senator Chase and any person who attempts to divide us, playing on people’s fears and appealing to bigotry and hate.”
Sen. Chase was not pleased, complaining that the Chamber did not inform her of the cause for the withdrawal of her invitation. The Senator further stated, “I stand by everything I’ve said and have not said anything bigoted.” She added that she views the decision as a “political play by those in the pay-to-play system in NoVa” and that the chamber is “nothing more than a surrogate for the Democratic Party of Virginia and we are not surprised by their actions or subsequent response.”
Long seen as GOP friendly, it’s reassuring to see that the Chamber has a code of conduct, even with respect to Republicans. Obviously, Chase failed to understand the Chamber’s public statement.