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Federal Law - § 3600A. Preservation of biological evidence

Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Part II

Chapter 228A—Post DNA Conviction Testing

§ 3600A. Preservation of biological evidence

  1. In General. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Government shall preserve biological evidence that was secured in the investigation or prosecution of a Federal offense, if a defendant is under a sentence of imprisonment for such offense.
  2. Defined Term. For purposes of this section, the term “biological evidence” means—
    1. a sexual assault forensic examination kit; or
    2. semen, blood, saliva, hair, skin tissue, or other identified biological material.
  3. Applicability. Subsection (a) shall not apply if—
    1. a court has denied a request or motion for DNA testing of the biological evidence by the defendant under section 3600, and no appeal is pending;
    2. the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived the right to request DNA testing of the biological evidence in a court proceeding conducted after the date of enactment of the Innocence Protection Act of 2004;
    3. after a conviction becomes final and the defendant has exhausted all opportunities for direct review of the conviction, the defendant is notified that the biological evidence may be destroyed and the defendant does not file a motion under section 3600 within 180 days of receipt of the notice;
      1. the evidence must be returned to its rightful owner, or is of such a size, bulk, or physical character as to render retention impracticable; and
      2. the Government takes reasonable measures to remove and preserve portions of the material evidence sufficient to permit future DNA testing; or
    5. the biological evidence has already been subjected to DNA testing under section 3600 and the results included the defendant as the source of such evidence.
  4. Other Preservation Requirement. Nothing in this section shall preempt or supersede any statute, regulation, court order, or other provision of law that may require evidence, including biological evidence, to be preserved.
  5. Regulations. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Innocence Protection Act of 2004, the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations to implement and enforce this section, including appropriate disciplinary sanctions to ensure that employees comply with such regulations.
  6. Criminal Penalty. Whoever knowingly and intentionally destroys, alters, or tampers with biological evidence that is required to be preserved under this section with the intent to prevent that evidence from being subjected to DNA testing or prevent the production or use of that evidence in an official proceeding, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
  7. Habeas Corpus. Nothing in this section shall provide a basis for relief in any Federal habeas corpus proceeding.


As laws are dynamic and subject to change, this website may not always reflect recent changes. We refer you to The United States Congress website, which may have more current or accurate information. To discuss your appeal, or how appellate laws may apply in your case, contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation.

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