revealnewsCh. 14: Another setback in the quest for proof: #badpleadeals by @antoinegoldet
Nine years after the sexual assault, investigator Ronald Price and John Douard, Rodney Roberts’ public civil attorney, tried to track down the full 1996 rape kit. They came up empty.
In the New Jersey state laboratory’s communication log, an April 14, 2005, entry for an outgoing call to the assistant prosecutor from Essex County reads: “The kit did not contain the vaginal swab, the genital swab or the victim’s saliva content. He will look into it and get back to me.”
Almost three months later, the same lab technician called the assistant prosecutor again. About their discussion, he wrote in a looping scrawl: “Everything that Newark P.D. had was sent to lab. I advised him that we were going to scrape more of the slides to try and generate a profile. He agreed that this was okay.”
So all the lab had to work with were vaginal slides obtained after the incident, from which only female DNA could be gleaned.
In a plea agreement, the prosecutor doesn’t have to present evidence to the court. That means he or she might not even be aware of contradictory or missing evidence that would have to be turned over to the defense in a case headed to trial.
Nothing in the physical evidence had ever tied Roberts to the crime for which he had already spent nine years incarcerated because it never had been tested. And now the most important components of that evidence seemed to be lost.
- kessiareyneThis series is horribly fascinating; this story is horribly frustrating.
- tanishascotthamseems like the plea deals need to have more physical and other evidence to be legal.
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