Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Ammiano to introduce crime lab bill

Out gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) announced today (Thursday, January 20) that he’ll introduce two bills to improve California’s criminal justice system.

One of the bills is inspired in part by Rudy “Ruby” Ordenana (pictured at right), a transgender woman who was found dead in 2007. The San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab didn’t process DNA from the case until nearly two years later. The evidence was matched with Donzell Francis, 42, whom law enforcement officials suspect went on to assault three transgender women after allegedly killing Ordenana.

Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Ammiano, said in an e-mail, “Ruby’s case was certainly a motivating factor for the bill along with the long list of related issues facing SF’s crime lab.”

Among other problems, a crime lab worker was suspected of stealing cocaine from the unit.

Ammiano’s bill would create a statewide forensic oversight body that would craft uniform procedures and standards for crime labs throughout the state.

The companion bill would develop guidelines for policies and procedures for the collection and handling of eyewitness evidence in criminal investigations by all law enforcement agencies operating in the state.

“The problems with San Francisco’s crime lab are just the tip of the iceberg both here and across the state,” Ammiano said in a statement. “Without effective oversight to guarantee the integrity of evidence and standard procedures for eyewitness identification, we put both victims and the accused at risk.  Our criminal justice system must reflect our society’s values and ensure that the end result is real justice for all involved.”

In December 2009, a jury found Francis guilty of charges including forcible oral copulation and robbery of a transgender woman. He was sentenced in January 2010 to 17 years and eight months in state prison for that case, which also stemmed from 2007.  As of this month, he remained in custody in San Francisco County jail.

In December 2010, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that includes a call for DNA collected in sexual assault cases to be tested within two weeks.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 20, 2011 @ 3:03 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Comments are disabled at this time.

Follow The Bay Area Reporter
Newsletter logo
twitter logo
facebook logo