In 1988, a child molestation was reported to Elkhart County law enforcement. Over the years, many leads on the case failed to pan out, but forensic samples containing spermatazoa were kept stored with the Elkhart County Sheriff. At the time, DNA testing was not available. After DNA technology became more advanced, the Elkhart County Sheriff re-opened the case for investigation and found Quinn to be a DNA match for the samples through the nationwide DNA database CODIS in 2012. Quinn’s DNA had been entered into CODIS in 2001 and 2003 via buccal swabs.
Quinn entered a guilty plea for a rape charge, but he had a bench trial for two other Class B felonies charges and was convicted of both. Quinn contests the two latter convictions based on the statute of limitations. The Indiana Code section 35–41–4–2 (2009) states, “A prosecution for a Class B or Class C felony that would otherwise be barred under this section may be commenced within one (1) year after the earlier of the date on which the state: (1) first discovers evidence sufficient to charge the offender with the offense through DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis; or (2) could have discovered evidence sufficient to charge the offender with the offense through DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis by the exercise of due diligence.”
The court also denied Quinn’s claim that the government failed to exercise due diligence in the investigation of his case. “The key inquiry for due diligence is whether the State’s efforts to identify Quinn through DNA testing were reasonable under the circumstances. Here, although the State possessed sub-items containing Quinn’s DNA in 1988, the sub-items’ continued existence was a matter of happenstance because the State’s Lab had no policy requiring retention of the sub-items when they were created. Retention of sub-items was left to the discretion of individual analysts, and many chose not to keep sub-items.”