Published — July 31, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

California crime lab escapes budget cuts

One key crime-fighting agency has emerged from the state’s recent budget slashing unscathed


This post was co-published with ProPublica.

Good financial news out of California is rare these days, but one key crime-fighting agency has emerged from the state’s recent budget slashing unscathed: The state crime lab.

In June, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund and ProPublica revealed how a proposed $20 million cut to the lab would likely halt or delay the testing of rape kits, DNA and other crucial crime scene evidence in many California counties. Advocates for crime victims worried that testing delays would allow violent criminals to remain on the streets.

Although the cut was small in the face of the state’s $26 billion shortfall, it would have represented half the lab’s budget.

But California’s budget was finalized this week, and funds for the crime lab remained intact. The lab’s budget also dodged the ink of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line-item veto pen.

Gail Abarbanel, who heads the rape treatment program at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, had called the cuts “a public safety emergency.” Today, Arbabanel said she was “ecstatic and relieved.”

The decision was unexpected. The proposed cut was approved by the state’s budget committee in June and seemed a lock for inclusion in the finalized budget. But then law enforcement agencies lobbied lawmakers and state Assemblyman Ted Lieu intervened.

“It was a team effort,” Lieu, a Democrat from Southern California, told us. “I went to the [state Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass] and said we need to restore this money because the cut goes against everything we stand for.”

If it had passed, the lab would have had to charge law enforcement agencies in 47 of the state’s 58 counties for evidence tests it has always provided for free, even though many of those agencies are facing budget cuts of their own.

As we’ve previously reported, the lab already has one of the largest backlogs of untested DNA evidence in any state lab. It hasn’t tested more than 150 DNA samples from crime scenes and 60,000 from people arrested or convicted of crimes.

Read more in Business

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
Bob FrankstonLinda GordonET69Jello Beyoncesam fetters Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
sam fetters
sam fetters

What do AT&T, Verizon and Crown Castle International Corp have in common? The largest institutional shareholders of each includes firms like: Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street (the “Big Three”), Invesco, Fidelity (FMR), JP Morgan, Wellington Management, Geode, T Rowe Price, Bank of America, and other of the largest money-management and investment firms, whom operate collaboratively (even comprising the largest shareholders of each other), forming virtual monopolies amongst the largest “competing” corporations, in most every single industry, via large share holdings. (source = These are the same firms whom also largely own the third largest telecom, T-Mobile. The own the largest… Read more »

Jello Beyonce
Jello Beyonce

I’ve a theory that the supposed “Trade Wars” and “sanctions” and political/military strife going on between the U.S., China, Russia, etc. are merely distractions, serving to divert attention away from the growing authoritarianism and Oligarchic control spreading across the globe. “Nationalism” is being used as a propagandist covert means of continued increasing Globalism. As this article states: “A Russian woman stood up to speak at one of these public meetings, and she said that when she lived in Russia, the government slam dunked her and she had no say,” King said. “Now she lives in the United States of America,… Read more »


Marx was right about capitalism . Capital gets more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. There is no way out of this greed. We need socialism!

Linda Gordon
Linda Gordon

5g is a kill grid. The depployment of this weapon is an act of terroism genocide and ecocide. The marketers need to be jailed as terrorists.

Bob Frankston

The real issue with 5G is that it’s an attempt to roll back the Internet and return to the telecom of the 1970s when the phone company controlled all.