DNA Evidence Collection Goes to Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court this month announced that it will decide whether it is legally permissible for police to take DNA samples from suspects arrested for violent crimes. The case is an appeal of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision in King v. Maryland, which invalidated the state’s DNA collection law. If upheld, the decision would overturn similar laws in 25 states.
“DNA is a crucial tool in rape investigations, many of which will be derailed unless the Supreme Court overturns the Maryland decision,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president. “Public safety is really at risk here. This is the most important rape case that has come before the Supreme Court in many years.”
In the Maryland case, DNA collected following a 2009 arrest of Alonzo King matched DNA from the crime scene of an unsolved 2003 rape. The DNA match led to King’s conviction for the 2003 home-invasion rape, and a sentence of life in prison without parole. King challenged the conviction on Fourth Amendment grounds, claiming that the cheek swab to collect his DNA violated his expectation of privacy and constituted an illegal search.
The Maryland court ruled in favor of King’s challenge, in what a Washington Post editorial termed “a bizarre decision, to say the least.”
Read more about King v. Maryland and the importance of DNA evidence.
PSU Community Helps 13,047 Survivors
It's hard to believe that it's been one year since the Penn State community first came together to support survivors in the wake of the charges against Jerry Sandusky. Not only did the news bring the tragedy of childhood sexual abuse to light, it united thousands of people who wanted to do something to help.
Over the past year supporters raised $548,000 to ensure that survivors would have access to help they deserve through RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. In fact, the funds raised enabled 13,047 additional survivors to get help on the Online Hotline. The #ProudPSUforRAINN campaign, started by alumns Jerry and Jaime Needel, Larena Lettow and Bob Troia, brought together alumni, students, parents, fans and other supporters to ensure that something positive would come out the tragedy. #ProudPSUforRAINN was a one-month campaign, but the momentum and support for RAINN and survivors continued all year with events held around the country to raise money and awareness about sexual violence.
Learn more about the continued need to help survivors.
1 Year Later: Penn State News
"RAINN now gets about 4,000 visits a month to its hotline from both men and women. And in the past year, supporters like Shipe have raised $548,000 to fund help for 13,047 survivors. 'The numbers are staggering,' said Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of RAINN. 'One of the interesting things about the Sandusky case it that its half life was much longer than a typical story.'" — ABC News
"Our Metro Washington DC Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association joined with other alumni chapters and groups around the country throwing a national RAINN fundraiser in January 2012, and we couldn't have been prouder of the way our community was able to organize…Our chapter will continue to support RAINN in its endeavors in the future and hope we can learn from our past to improve the future. We hope that you consider supporting them as well." — Chapter head David Fites in the Washington Times
“Nearly two months ago, I announced my intention to participate in the Philadelphia Marathon events not only to fulfill a personal goal, but to use the race as a vehicle to raise awareness for victims of sexual violence through contributions to RAINN. I've been joined by many others — runners, Penn Staters, family and friends of the Penn State community and those who believe in the fight to help victims reclaim their lives.” — Ray Migneco in Black Shoes Diaries
Uncommon Goods, Amazon Let You
Shop and Support RAINN
Want a way to turn everyday shopping into everyday giving this holiday season? Here are two ways to shop and benefit RAINN — and they won't cost you an extra cent:
- Find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift at UncommonGoods! Select RAINN when you checkout and $1 from your purchase will help survivors of sexual violence.
- Shop stores like Amazon, Target and 700 more retailers through RAINN's Online Shopping Mall. With just one click, a portion of your sale will go to RAINN, at no extra cost to you.