DNA evidence that could free people wrongfully convicted of murder or sexual assault should be preserved by law enforcement for as long as the defendant is behind bars, members of a governor's task force said Tuesday.
"We all agree there ought to be a duty on the part of law enforcement to preserve DNA evidence involving the most serious crimes," said retired Denver District Judge Jeffrey Bayless.
The task force settled on a set of tentative recommendations that, in part, call for storing and preserving DNA evidence in sexual assault and first- and second-degree murder cases while the defendant is incarcerated or on parole.
But some district attorneys and police departments say their biggest challenge will be finding the space and resources to house physical evidence for long periods of time.
The 21-member panel's recommendations will become the framework of legislation four lawmakers plan to introduce next year aimed at creating uniform standards in preserving physical and biological evidence in criminal cases.
Rocky Mountain News