The state is looking for a settlement from a that supplied DNA tests from the State Police forensics laboratory with because they were faulty, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said.
The state spent about $300,000 on the tests and might need to retest about 3,000 pieces of evidence.
The tests, made by California-based Applied Biosystems, produced accurate results, Rell said, but they they were not sensitive enough to produce a profile when there were small amounts of DNA to test.
Chemicals in the kits degraded faster than expected, Rell said, so they did not last as long as they were supposed to.
“Our primary concern, of course, is ensuring justice in every one of these cases – and ensuring that it happens in a timely manner,” Rell said. “We have already identified the cases where the faulty test kits were used and we are now in the process of determining how many of those cases will require retesting. Because we are not only concerned about getting these tests right but getting them done as soon as possible, as part of our settlement discussions we are asking Applied Biosystems to pay the costs of hiring temporary, extra staff so that we can speed the required retesting.”
Rell also said the state has no record of the company sending an e-mail alert about the problem, although the company said it sent one.
“The problem is that the kits were insufficiently sensitive – they simply did not react to extremely small amounts of DNA that would have been enough to generate a profile using a fully functional kit,” James “Skip” Thomas, Commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety.
The state bought 75 testing kits from the defective lot, at a cost of about $300,000.
State records have identified 638 cases in which about 3,000 separate pieces of evidence might require retesting. It is not yet clear how many retests will ultimately be required.