Manhattan DA’s Pledge to End Rape-Kit Testing Backlogs:
- Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has pledged to use $35 million in funds received as the result of civil forfeitures to help end the backlog in rape-kits around the country. The money comes from the settlement with BNP Paribas for violating financial sanctions.
- The funding is meant to help cities with extensive backlogs such as Memphis and Las Vegas. Between these two cities the backlog in testing rape kits is estimated between 15,000 and 16,000. Rape kits contain the evidence including photographs, blood samples, clothing, and bodily fluids collected by health care officials following a sexual assault.
- The District Attorney’s Office has teamed up with the Joyful Heart Foundation. The Foundation’s president is Mariska Hartigay, the star of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The funding will first go to any backlog in New York. Then, the Joyful Heart Foundation will provide technical assistance and advise the District Attorney’s Office on the most efficient ways of distributing the funds.
- Since Federal and State officials are generally not required to keep track of rape-kit backlogs, there is no official number of how many kits have gone untested. It is estimated that there are about 100,000 backlogged kits.
Parent’s Dispute In Family Court Over Donating Two Year Old Daughter’s Organs Comes To An End:
- On Monday, November 17, 2014, a Brooklyn Family Court judge ruled that the medical professionals at Brookdale Hospital would have to keep two year old Thaiya Spruill-Smith on life support for at least another day.