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Ca Auditor Dna Identification Fund 2007

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DNA Identification Fund:
Improvements Are Needed in Reporting Fund Revenues and
Assessing and Distributing DNA Penalties, but Counties
and Courts We Reviewed Have Properly Collected Penalties and
Transferred Revenues to the State
November 2007 Report 2007-109

CALIFORNIA
S TAT E A U D I T O R

The first five copies of each California State Auditor report are free. Additional copies are $3 each, payable by
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Bureau of State Audits
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, California 95814
916.445.0255 or TTY 916.445.0033
OR
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Elaine M. Howle
State Auditor

CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR

Doug Cordiner
Chief Deputy

Bureau of State Audits

555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300

S a c r a m e n t o, C A 9 5 8 1 4

November 29, 2007	

916.445.0255

916.327.0019 fax

w w w. b s a . c a . g o v

2007-109

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:
As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the Bureau of State Audits presents
its audit report concerning the implementation of the DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and
Innocence Protection Act (DNA act).
This report concludes that, although the DNA act requires the Department of Justice (Justice)
to post data on collections of DNA penalty assessments on its Web site based on annual reports
submitted by counties, it does not require counties to report all collections of DNA penalty
assessments. Specifically, counties are not required to report the collection of penalty assessments
mandated by a July 2006 amendment to the DNA act. Additionally, the information on Justice’s
Web site is misleading because it indicates that many counties in 2005 and 2006 had not collected
any DNA Identification Fund (DNA fund) money when in reality they simply failed to submit
annual reports. Based on records maintained by the State Controller’s Office, however, we found
that these counties actually transferred $1.6 million and $3.8 million, respectively, to the State
in these years. Consequently, anyone relying on Justice’s Web site for DNA penalty collection
information would not have a complete picture of all money collected or transferred to the State.
Further, judicial discretion and state laws can affect the amount and timing of DNA penalties
assessed and collected by the courts. As a result, for some violations the State may not receive
any DNA fund money or may receive a lesser amount. Court decisions and state law can also
allow several months to lapse before fines must be paid and transferred to the State. Although
the amount of money transferred to the State increased in 2006, these factors, along with early
delays in implementing the requirements of the DNA act, may explain why transfers were lower
in the first few quarters after implementation.
We also found that the counties we visited appropriately used money from their DNA funds,
although they needed to use alternative funding sources to pay for some DNA program costs.
However, more funding should be available to counties as their share of DNA fund money rises
in accordance with the DNA act. Finally, although not significant, in assessing and distributing
DNA penalty collections, we did note weaknesses in some courts’ automated case management
systems and internal controls that resulted in minor errors.
Respectfully submitted,

ELAINE M. HOWLE
State Auditor

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Contents
Summary	

1

Introduction	

7

Audit Results	
Reporting of Data on County DNA Identification Funds
Needs to Improve	

15

Various Factors Affect the Amount and Timing of DNA Fund
Money Transferred to the State	

19

Counties Are Appropriately Using Their DNA Fund Money, but
the Money Is Not Sufficient to Pay for All Their Costs	

23

Courts Need to Improve Their Methods of Ensuring the Accuracy
of DNA Penalty Assessments and Distributions	

25

Recommendations	

30

Appendix	
County Transfers to the State DNA Identification Fund	

33

Responses to the Audit	
Department of Justice	

37

California State Auditor’s Comments on the Response From
the Department of Justice	

41

Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts	

43

Office of the State Controller	

47

Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles	

49

Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento	

51

vii

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Summary
Results In Brief

Audit Highlights . . .

On November 2, 2004, voters approved Proposition 69, the DNA
Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and Innocence Protection Act
(DNA act), which expanded the statewide program of collecting
samples of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and storing them in a
database and data bank (DNA program). DNA analysis is a useful
law enforcement tool for identifying and prosecuting criminal
offenders and exonerating the innocent. Among the purposes of
the DNA program are helping federal, state, and local criminal
justice and law enforcement agencies quickly and accurately detect
and prosecute people responsible for certain crimes, such as sex
offenses, and excluding innocent persons under investigation for
such crimes. The DNA act states that, like collecting fingerprints,
collecting DNA samples is an administrative requirement for
accurately identifying criminal offenders.

Our review of the implementation of
Proposition 69, the DNA Fingerprint,
Unsolved Crime, and Innocence Protection
Act (DNA act) revealed that:

To assist local law enforcement agencies in collecting DNA samples,
the DNA act requires the assessment of a penalty for all criminal
and vehicle violations, excluding parking violations (initial DNA
penalty). Each county collects payments of initial DNA penalties,
deposits them into a county DNA Identification Fund (DNA fund),
and on a quarterly basis transfers a percentage of the money in its
DNA fund to the state DNA fund. The DNA act allows counties to
retain a percentage of money in their DNA funds to reimburse local
law enforcement agencies for costs related to collecting, processing,
analyzing, tracking, and storing DNA samples. In July 2006 the
DNA act was amended to levy an additional DNA penalty for
all criminal and vehicle violations, excluding parking violations
(additional DNA penalty). The additional DNA penalty is assessed
and distributed in a manner similar to the initial DNA penalty.
However, counties must transfer to the State 100 percent of the
additional DNA penalty payments they collect.
The DNA act requires each county’s board of supervisors to submit
an Annual County DNA Identification Fund Report (annual report)
to the Department of Justice (Justice) and the Legislature detailing
collection and expenditure information related to the initial DNA
penalty. Further, the DNA act requires Justice to post data from
the annual reports on its Web site. However, state law does not
require counties to report collections related to the additional DNA
penalty. Therefore, Justice and other interested parties relying on
the Justice Web site for information on DNA penalty collections
would not be able to obtain a complete picture of all DNA penalty
money collected and transferred to the State. In addition, viewers
of the Web site information would not have any assurance that the
counties are assessing or collecting the additional DNA penalties.

»» State law does not require counties to
report collections related to the additional
DNA penalty imposed by the July 2006
amendment to the DNA act; therefore,
interested parties would not be able to
obtain a complete picture of all the DNA
penalty money collected and transferred
to the State.
»» Information available on the Department
of Justice’s Web site as of June 2007
showed that 22 counties had not
transferred any DNA money to the State
in 2005 and 24 did not do so in 2006;
however, based on the State Controller’s
Office’s records, these counties actually
transferred to the State $1.6 million in
2005 and $3.8 million in 2006.
»» Various factors, such as court decisions
and state law, may explain why DNA
fund transfers to the State were lower
than expected; however, transfers
have increased since the initial
implementation period.
»» Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento
counties appropriately used money from
their DNA funds to reimburse local law
enforcement agencies for their expenses.
»» Although there were no significant
errors in assessing and distributing
DNA penalties at the three counties we
reviewed, some weaknesses in the courts’
automated case management systems
and internal controls resulted in minor
errors in the assessment and distribution
of DNA penalties.

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November 2007

Based on our review of records maintained by the State Controller’s
Office (state controller), counties transferred to the State about
$2.3 million in additional DNA penalties for 2006, an amount
that is not reflected on the Justice Web site. However, the state
controller’s records also show that 11 counties did not report
transferring any money from the additional DNA penalty to the
State for 2006. We contacted each of these counties and were
informed by representatives of nine of the 11 counties that they
combined money they collected from the additional DNA penalty
with their collections of the initial DNA penalty rather than
identify their collections separately on the documentation sent to
the state controller. However, three of the nine counties indicated
that they failed to transfer 100 percent of their collections to the
State, as required by law. Rather they only transferred 70 percent,
the amount applicable to the initial DNA penalty. Additionally,
an official from one county stated that, although the court was
assessing and collecting the additional DNA penalty, due to a
coding error, the county did not transfer its additional DNA penalty
collections to the State until March 2007. Finally, an official from
the court in the remaining county acknowledged that it did not
begin assessing the additional penalty until September 2007.
Further, the information available on the Justice Web site related to
the initial DNA penalty is incomplete and misleading. In particular,
as of June 2007, 22 counties had not submitted the required annual
reports to Justice for 2005 and 24 counties had not submitted the
reports for 2006. Rather than report that the counties had failed
to submit annual reports, the Justice Web site indicated that those
counties had not transferred any DNA fund money to the State.
Based on data obtained from the state controller, however, we
found that all but two counties did transfer DNA fund money to
the State from their 2005 collections of the initial DNA penalty
and that all but one county transferred funds from their 2006
collections. The 22 counties that did not submit annual reports on
their 2005 collections actually transferred almost $1.6 million to
the State, and the 24 counties that did not submit reports on their
2006 collections transferred almost $3.8 million. Because the Justice
Web site shows those counties as not transferring any money to
the State, anyone attempting to use the data might erroneously
conclude that many counties were not assessing any DNA penalties
and that the State was not receiving money it was owed.
Judicial discretion and state laws can affect the amount of DNA
penalties assessed by the courts. Specifically, although an offense
may call for the assessment of DNA penalties, courts have the
discretion to waive or reduce the penalties. For example, we
identified 25 cases in which the courts sentenced offenders to jail
time rather than assessing penalties. In those cases the State would
not receive any DNA fund money. Similarly, when an individual

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

who committed a traffic violation is allowed to attend traffic school,
state law allows the city and county where the violation occurred
to retain most of the money collected rather than requiring
distribution to any penalty assessment funds, and the State does not
receive any DNA fund money.
We also found that the time between the date of the offense and
when the county collects and transfers DNA fund money to the
State can be extensive. One reason for delays is that some court
decisions may allow several months before individuals must
pay the required fines. Another reason for delays in transferring
money to the state DNA fund is that state law allows individuals
to pay fines in installments. Finally, state law allows up to 90 days
before counties have to transfer to the State its share of DNA
penalty collections. These factors, along with early delays in
implementing the requirements of the DNA act, may explain why
we noted that DNA fund transfers to the State were lower in the
first few quarters after the DNA act’s implementation than in later
quarters. In the three counties we visited, DNA fund transfers have
increased as the time since the effective date of the DNA act has
lengthened and the money from penalties assessed shortly after the
implementation date has been collected.
The counties we visited appropriately used money from their DNA
funds to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for the expenses
incurred to collect DNA samples and submit them to Justice.
However, because the DNA act stipulated that in 2005 and 2006
counties could retain only 30 percent of the money they collected
from DNA penalties in their DNA funds and had to transfer the
remaining 70 percent to the State, counties had to use alternative
funding sources to pay some DNA program costs. More funding
should become available to counties as their share of DNA fund
money rises in accordance with the DNA act: counties can retain
50 percent of their DNA funds in 2007 and will retain 75 percent
beginning in 2008.
Our review of individual transactions at the three counties
we visited did not reveal any significant errors in assessing
DNA penalties and distributing penalty collections to
counties’ DNA funds. However, we did note weaknesses in courts’
automated case management systems and internal controls that
resulted in errors in the assessment and distribution of DNA
penalties. For example, because of rounding errors caused by the
automated case management system in Orange County Superior
Court (Orange court) that ranged from 1 cent to 9 cents per case,
the court did not properly distribute DNA penalty payments
to the county DNA fund. The financial impact of the rounding
errors was minimal on an individual case basis. However, the case
management system used by the Orange court is a precursor to the

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system under development for statewide implementation by the
Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the administrative arm
of the Judicial Council of California (Judicial Council). Therefore,
unless the rounding errors are corrected, small errors occurring in
the courts in all 58 counties could result in large monetary losses to
county and state DNA funds.
According to a report compiled by the Judicial Council, the Orange
court alone processed 569,000 criminal and traffic case filings in
fiscal year 2005–06. Further, the report shows that in that same year
courts statewide processed more than 6.4 million dispositions—the
final outcomes of cases.1 Although not all case filings result in
dispositions and not all dispositions result in penalty assessments,
the sheer number of annual dispositions strongly suggests that
rounding errors could have a significant fiscal impact on the counties
and the State if not corrected. Another error we noted in the Orange
court case management system was its failure to consistently
distribute installment payments to the various fines, fees, and
penalties according to the priority order established by state law.
Additionally, we found that a Los Angeles County Superior Court
(Los Angeles court) made several data entry errors related to a
specific type of motor vehicle violation. Although the errors appeared
to be isolated to one court employee who processes payments, the
errors covered a period of at least 12 months. Further, we found
that in three cases at another Los Angeles court location, the court
overassessed DNA penalties. According to an official at the Los
Angeles court, the excessive assessments were caused by manual
errors. Finally, we found that because of a misinterpretation of
the guidance provided by the state controller, Sacramento County
Superior Court (Sacramento court) incorrectly transferred $292,000
in traffic school fees, and an additional $210,000 in fees related to red
light violations, to the State rather than to the city or county general
fund where the infraction occurred, as required by law.
Recommendations
To provide a full accounting of the DNA fund money counties
collect and transfer, the Legislature should consider revising
state law to require counties to include in their annual reports
information on the additional DNA penalty established by
Chapter 69, Statutes of 2006.

1	

The Judicial Council of California was not able to provide us with the number of dispositions for
the Orange County Superior Court.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Because state law requires Justice to make county-reported data
available on its Web site, Justice should do the following to ensure
that data on county DNA fund activities are accurate:
•	 Annually notify counties that they are statutorily required to
submit reports on or before April 1 to the Legislature and Justice.
•	 Contact each county that does not submit an annual report by
the deadline.
•	 Establish policies and procedures for posting county data on its
Web site.
•	 Clearly indicate on its Web site any county that failed to submit
an annual report.
County boards of supervisors should ensure that they promptly
submit annual reports to Justice and the Legislature as required by
the DNA act.
To ensure that the distribution of payments for all fines, fees, and
penalty assessments charged to offenders comply with all applicable
laws and regulations, the AOC should do the following:
•	 Work with the Orange court to estimate the total dollar effect
of the rounding errors in calculating the penalty assessment
distribution to determine whether it will have a significant
financial impact on the State. If the AOC determines that the
impact will be significant, it should ensure that the Orange court
makes the necessary modifications to the distributions calculated
by its case management system. Further, as it proceeds with
developing the statewide case management system, the AOC
should ensure that the system correctly distributes payments
to the appropriate funds in accordance with all applicable laws
and regulations.
•	 Ensure that the Orange court reevaluates and makes necessary
corrections to the distribution priority order programmed into
its case management system.
•	 Ensure that the Los Angeles court corrects any manual coding
errors and strengthens internal controls over data entry.
•	 Ensure that the Sacramento court continues its efforts to correct
any overpayments made to the state DNA fund.

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•	 Contact the courts in the counties that did not report
transferring to the State any money or only part of the money
for the additional DNA penalty to determine whether they are
appropriately assessing the penalty.
The state controller should contact the auditor-controllers in the
counties that did not report transferring to the State any money or
only part of the money for the additional DNA penalty to ensure
that counties and courts correctly assess, collect, and transfer the
money to the State.
Agency Comments
The state agencies and county superior courts we reviewed
generally agree with our recommendations and will take steps to
address them.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Introduction
Background
On November 2, 2004, voters approved Proposition 69, the
DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and Innocence Protection
Act (DNA act). The DNA act amended state law by expanding
the existing statewide program that collected samples of
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and created a database and data
bank (DNA program). Among the purposes of the DNA program
are helping federal, state, and local criminal justice and law
enforcement agencies quickly and accurately detect and prosecute
people responsible for certain crimes, including sex offenses,
and excluding innocent persons who are being investigated
for those crimes. Making a comparison with the collection of
fingerprints, the DNA act states that the collection of DNA samples
is an administrative requirement for accurately identifying
criminal offenders.
Before passage of the DNA act, state law required any individual
convicted of certain felony offenses to provide a blood sample
to law enforcement from which a DNA profile was obtained for
inclusion in the state DNA program. The Department of Justice
(Justice), which manages the DNA program, includes the DNA
profiles in the Combined DNA Index System database administered
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DNA act expanded the
list of qualifying offenses for collecting DNA samples to include
adults and juveniles convicted of, adjudicated for, or pleading guilty
or no contest to any felony offense; any person who attempted to
commit or was convicted of a sex or arson offense; and any adult
who attempted to commit, was arrested for, or was charged with a
felony sex offense, murder, or voluntary manslaughter. Additionally,
the DNA act expanded the requirement to provide a DNA sample
to some misdemeanor offenses. Further, all persons convicted of
the qualifying offenses previously mentioned who are serving time
in prison, on parole, or on probation are required to provide DNA
samples. Beginning in 2009 the criteria specified in the DNA act
for inclusion in the state DNA program will expand to include all
adults arrested or charged with any felony offense, whether or not
they are eventually convicted.
State, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies identify
persons qualifying for entry into the state DNA program, collect
DNA samples, and send the samples to Justice. The Justice DNA
laboratory receives and processes DNA samples submitted by
counties and state agencies like the Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation; then Justice stores the information in the state
DNA program. Justice also administers the state DNA Identification
Fund (DNA fund), which can only be used to support DNA testing

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November 2007

in the State and to offset the financial impacts of increased
testing. According to a report issued by Justice, as of March 2007
it had received almost 928,000 DNA samples from county and
state entities since the program began. Justice records show that
expenditures from the state DNA fund have grown from $9.5
million in fiscal year 2005–06 to $12.7 million in fiscal year 2006–
07, an increase of about 34 percent. The budget for expenditures
from the state DNA fund in fiscal year 2007–08 is $21 million.
Collection of DNA Samples and Penalty Payments
To assist law enforcement agencies and Justice in collecting DNA
samples, the DNA act levies a penalty of $1 for every $10, or
fraction thereof, on all fines, penalties, or forfeitures imposed and
collected by the courts for all criminal offenses, including violations
of the vehicle code but excluding parking violations (initial DNA
penalty). As shown in Table 1, the State and counties share the
revenues from this penalty, with the proportion of revenues
retained by the counties gradually increasing.
Table 1
State and County Shares of Initial DNA Penalty Collections
Year

State’s share

County’s share

2005 and 2006

70%

30%

2007

50

50

2008 and beyond

25

75

Source:  Government Code, Section 76104.6.

Each county must deposit DNA penalty payments in its DNA fund
and, on a quarterly basis, transfer the appropriate percentage to
the state DNA fund, along with any interest the county earned on
its fund. The DNA act allows counties to use their share of DNA
funds to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for costs related
to collecting, processing, analyzing, tracking, and storing DNA
samples, as well as the cost of the equipment and software needed
to complete those tasks.
On July 12, 2006, changes to the DNA act (amended DNA act) took
effect, levying an additional DNA penalty of $1 for every $10, or
fraction thereof, on all criminal and vehicle violations, excluding
parking violations (additional DNA penalty). As with initial DNA
penalty payments, counties must deposit payments of the additional
DNA penalty in their DNA funds and make quarterly transfers,

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

including interest, to the state DNA fund. However, the amended
DNA act requires counties to transfer to the State 100 percent of
the money they collect from the additional DNA penalty.
In addition to the DNA penalties, state law requires other penalties
and restitution fines to be imposed on every fine, penalty, or
forfeiture imposed and collected by the courts for criminal offenses
and vehicle code violations, excluding parking violations. Figure 1
on the following page shows the calculation of some of the penalty
assessments, including the DNA penalties, on a hypothetical vehicle
code violation. Among the other fees courts can also levy are the
state surcharge, an amount equal to 20 percent of the base fine for
criminal and traffic violations, and restitution for a victim who has
suffered economic loss as a result of the defendant’s
criminal conduct.
The courts collect fine payments from offenders
and distribute the payments to the appropriate
Priority of Installment Payments
penalty funds managed by various county or
1.	 Restitution ordered to, or on behalf of, the victim.
state agencies. When an offender is allowed to
pay a fine in installments rather than in full,
2.	 State surcharge.
state law establishes a priority order of how the
3.	 The base fine, any other fines and penalties (including
amounts collected must be distributed (see
the DNA penalties), and other restitution fines.
the text box). Further, state law requires that
payments distributed to the assessments in the
4.	 Any other reimbursable costs.
third priority must be distributed to each fine and
Source:  Penal Code, Section 1203.1.
penalty category on a proportional basis. Thus,
within the third priority, no fine or penalty, such
as the initial or additional DNA penalty, would
have priority over another. In the example shown in Figure 1,
payments would first be distributed to the state surcharge. Once
the state surcharge is paid in full, each subsequent payment would
be distributed to the other penalties and fees proportionately.
The court transfers collections to the county treasurer and
notifies the auditor‑controller, who deposits the money into the
appropriate county funds, such as the county DNA fund. Under
the requirements of the DNA act, the county auditor-controller
must make quarterly transfers from the county DNA fund to the
state DNA fund. Figure 2 on page 11 shows activities conducted at
the county and state levels.

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Figure 1
Sample Calculation of Penalties

Violations result in fines
paid to and collected by
superior courts

$10 to the DNA program

Base fine
State surcharge
(20% of base fine)
State penalty*
($10 per $10)
County penalty†
($7 per $10)
Initial DNA penalty‡
($1 per $10)
Additional DNA penalty§
($1 per $10)
Court construction feell
($0-$5 per $10)
Emergency Medical Services#
($2 per $10)
Total amount owed

$50
$10

Violation penalties

$50
$35
$5

Penalty assessments

$5
$10
$10
$175

Sources:  Penal Code and Government Code sections noted below.
Note:  California penalty assessments can be as high as $26 per $10 of base fine. Sample calculation is not intended to include all fines, fees,
and penalties.
*	 Required by Penal Code, Section 1464.
†	 Required by Government Code, Section 76000(e).
‡	 Required by Government Code, Section 76104.6.
§	 Required by Government Code, Section 76104.7.
ll	 Required by Government Code, sections 70372(a) and 70375(b). For this example we used $2 per $10.
#	 Required by Government Code, Section 76000.5 for counties that elect to administer an Emergency Medical Services program.

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November 2007

Figure 2
Collection, Distribution, and Transfer of Money in County and
State DNA Identification Funds
County Level
(includes courts)
Assessment
(per citation)

Collection
(lump-sum or
installment payments)

Distribution of moneys
into appropriate fee,
fine, and penalty funds

Transfer to county
auditor-controller for deposit in the
County DNA Identification Fund
(quarterly transfers to State)

State Level
DNA lab

Department
of Justice

State Controller’s
Office

State Treasurer’s Office
(State DNA Identification Fund)

Sources:  County policies and procedures and state laws.

To assist in tracking and managing the various amounts of penalties
assessed and collected, the courts and counties use automated
case management systems. The superior courts we visited in
Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento counties used different case
management systems to handle caseloads and payments of fines.
However, the automated case management systems in all three
courts used the uniform bail and penalty schedules as a means to
determine the penalty assessments, total fines, and fees. The Judicial
Council of California (Judicial Council), the policy-making body
of the California courts, has developed uniform bail and penalty
schedules for certain offenses to achieve consistency within the
State. The bail amounts and penalty schedules reported are then
input into the automated case management systems used by the
courts. The amounts input into the case management systems
incorporate the various penalty assessments, including the initial
and additional DNA penalty assessments.
In an effort to improve court technology, the Judicial Council
approved the development of the California Court Case
Management System (CCMS) for implementation in all courts
statewide. Currently, more than 70 case management systems are
operating in the State’s 58 superior courts. The CCMS is a statewide
initiative to implement a single case management system for all
case types, and a precursor of the system is currently being used
by five counties. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC),
the staff agency of the Judicial Council, expects the CCMS to be
deployed in all courts by the end of 2012.

Local law enforcement agencies
(County DNA Identification Fund)

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Oversight of the DNA Program, Penalties, and Funds
Justice is responsible for administering the DNA program and the
state DNA fund. In addition, the DNA act requires Justice to make
data from the annual reports it receives from the counties publicly
available on its Web site. These reports, which each county board
of supervisors must submit on or before April 1 each year, include
the total amount of initial DNA penalty payments collected and
transferred to the DNA fund, pursuant to the DNA act, and the
amounts expended by the county for the DNA program. Although
Justice is responsible for the administration of the DNA program
and the state DNA fund, two other state departments have
responsibility for oversight of the assessment of DNA penalties
and the collection and transfer of DNA penalty payments: the
State Controller’s Office (state controller) and the AOC.
The state controller is responsible for establishing a uniform
accounting system to ensure that trial court revenues, including
payments of DNA penalties, are properly accounted for and
distributed to all levels of government. To ensure that courts
and counties properly assess and distribute the two DNA penalties,
the state controller prepares and distributes guidelines such as the
DNA Penalty Assessment (Proposition 69) Distribution Guidelines.
Further, staff with the state controller are available to provide
technical assistance to courts and counties with questions concerning
the distribution of DNA penalty payments. In accordance with state
law, the state controller also determines whether all court collections
transferred to the State Treasurer’s Office are complete by conducting
audits of each county approximately once every five years. The audits
focus on amounts transferred to the State and whether the county
and courts appropriately followed state law and the guidelines
provided to them.
The AOC reviews court activities to determine whether courts have
appropriately assessed and distributed penalties. According to the
AOC, its internal audit services unit conducts performance reviews
of the courts on a three- to five-year cycle. The performance
reviews of the courts focus on their compliance with the Trial
Court Financial Policies and Procedures Manual, a statewide
court policy manual. Additionally, the AOC reviews the courts’
operational procedures, such as cash-handling and security
practices. During its performance reviews, the AOC’s internal
audit services unit examines court assessment, collection, and
distribution schedules for a sample of penalties, including the initial
and additional DNA penalties.

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November 2007

Scope and Methodology
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee (audit committee) requested
the Bureau of State Audits to review the implementation of the
DNA act—specifically, the collection and management of money
in county and state DNA funds. The audit committee noted that
since the DNA act became effective, revenues associated with it
were significantly lower than expected. Additionally, the Legislative
Analyst’s Office suggested that the revenue shortfall might be the
result of counties not collecting the DNA penalty assessments or
receiving only partial payments. Further, information posted on
the Justice Web site showed that many counties, including five
of the 10 largest, did not report collecting any DNA fund money for
2005. Consequently, the audit committee was concerned that the
State may not be receiving its fair share of DNA fund money and
that counties may not be using the funds as intended.
To understand the funding process outlined in the DNA act,
the roles and responsibilities of various entities involved in its
implementation, and the expenditure of DNA funds, we reviewed
relevant state laws, rules, and regulations. We also interviewed
representatives from the AOC; the state controller; Justice; and
officials from the counties’ law enforcement agencies, courts,
and auditor-controllers.
To determine whether the counties and courts assessed, collected,
allocated, and transferred the appropriate amounts of DNA fund
money to the State, we reviewed a total of 120 criminal and vehicle
citations from three counties for 2005 and 2006. We selected
three counties—Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento—because
they are among the most populous counties in California. To ensure
that counties transferred the correct amounts from their DNA funds
to the state DNA fund, we selected 20 citations included in the state
controller’s files of amounts the counties transferred to the State.
For each case, we obtained the original citation from the applicable
superior court location; recalculated the DNA penalty assessments;
and compared our calculation with the amount of DNA fund money
collected, distributed, and transferred to the State. Further, to ensure
that collections were complete, we selected another 20 cases from
each court’s case files, for a total of 40 cases per county. For each
case, we determined whether the penalty assessment was accurate
and that the appropriate amount was distributed to the county
DNA fund. Additionally, if an offender had paid any amount on the
original fine, we assessed whether the appropriate amount had been
transferred to the State.
To determine if counties were correctly transferring DNA fund
money to the State and reporting the appropriate amounts in
their annual reports, we obtained data from the state controller

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on county transfers of funds to the State. The Appendix shows
the amounts of the initial DNA penalty collections transferred by
county for 2005 and 2006. To meet the data reliability standards
of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, we assessed the
reliability of the state controller’s DNA fund database. Based on
our assessment, we found the data to be sufficiently reliable for
the purposes of our audit. For the counties that did not report
transferring any money to the State, either for the initial DNA
penalty or the additional DNA penalty funds, we contacted county
representatives to determine whether, in fact, they had transferred
DNA penalty collections to the State. However, we did not perform
any specific audit procedures to validate the assertions made by
representatives. Our procedures were limited to inquiries with
county staff.
To ensure the counties spent the DNA fund money according to
statutory requirements, we evaluated the processes that Los Angeles,
Orange, and Sacramento counties followed to ensure their
compliance with the requirements of the DNA act. We also reviewed
a sample of expenditures from the DNA funds for the three counties.
Specifically, we reviewed the appropriateness of reimbursements
made to law enforcement agencies for their expenditures and other
program‑specific expenditures, such as for labs and equipment.

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November 2007

Audit Results
Reporting of Data on County DNA Identification Funds Needs
to Improve
In November 2004 voters approved Proposition 69, the DNA
Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and Innocence Protection Act
(DNA act). The DNA act requires the courts to levy a penalty
of $1 for every $10, or fraction thereof, on all fines, penalties, or
forfeitures imposed and collected by the courts for all criminal
offenses, including violations of the vehicle code but excluding
parking violations (initial DNA penalty). The DNA act also requires
each county’s board of supervisors to submit an Annual County
DNA Identification Fund Report (annual report) to the Department
of Justice (Justice) and the Legislature, detailing the amounts of
initial DNA penalty payments collected and deposited in the county
and state DNA Identification Fund (DNA fund) and expenditures
from that fund. Further, the DNA act requires Justice to post the
counties’ annual reports on its Web site. In July 2006 the DNA act
was amended to levy an additional DNA penalty on all criminal and
vehicle violations except parking violations (additional DNA penalty).
However, state law does not require counties to include all DNA fund
revenues in their annual reports. Therefore, the State cannot be fully
assured that the counties are assessing and collecting all required
DNA penalties. Additionally, many counties failed to submit
annual reports in 2005 and 2006. On its Web site Justice showed
that those nonreporting counties did not transfer any DNA fund
money to the State as required by law, rather than showing them as
failing to submit annual reports. Consequently, anyone reviewing
the information on the Justice Web site would conclude that many
counties had not collected or transferred money to the State for
those years. However, based on records from the State Controller’s
Office (state controller), all but two counties transferred certain
DNA fund money to the State in 2005, and only one county failed to
make the required transfers in 2006.
The Amended DNA Act Does Not Require Counties to Report Revenues
From the Newly Initiated DNA Penalty
In July 2006 Government Code, Section 76104.7 was added by
Chapter 69, Statutes of 2006, to require courts to levy an additional
DNA penalty of $1 for every $10, or fraction thereof, on the same
violations as the initial DNA penalty (additional DNA penalty).
Each quarter counties must transfer DNA fund money to the State.
In 2005 and 2006, counties had to transfer 70 percent of the initial
DNA penalties collected and 100 percent of the additional DNA
penalty collections beginning in July 2006. However, although the

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DNA act requires counties to include data on collections of
initial DNA penalty payments in the annual reports they submit to
Justice, the amended DNA act does not require them to include
their additional DNA penalty collections on that report.
Consequently, the information the counties report to Justice and
the Legislature is incomplete. For instance, based on data we
obtained from the state controller, the total amount of additional
DNA penalty collections that counties transferred to the State was
about $2.3 million from July 2006, the month the additional penalty
became effective, through December 2006. Without this
information from the annual reports, the State has little assurance
that the courts and counties are assessing and collecting the
additional penalty and transferring it to the state DNA fund.
Counties Reporting No Collections of
Additional DNA Penalties for 2006
1.	 Butte
2.	 Contra Costa
3.	 Inyo
4.	 Lassen
5.	 Mariposa
6.	 Merced
7.	 Monterey
8.	 San Joaquin
9.	 Siskiyou
10.	Trinity
11.	Yolo
Source:  State Controller’s Office.

The importance of the counties including in their
annual reports information on the amount of
additional DNA penalties they collected is further
illustrated by the fact that, according to the state
controller’s records, 11 counties did not report the
transfer of any additional DNA penalty collections
to the State in 2006 (see the text box). We contacted
each of the counties that reported no additional
DNA penalty collections to determine whether they
were appropriately assessing the additional DNA
penalty. It should be noted that we did not perform
any audit procedures to validate the assertions made
by representatives of the 11 counties. Rather, our
procedures were limited to phone inquiries and
e-mails in an attempt to ascertain why the state
controller’s records indicated the counties had not
transferred any money to the State for the additional
DNA penalty.

According to representatives of nine of the counties, the courts
were assessing the additional DNA penalty; however, rather than
identify the collections separately on the documentation sent to
the state controller, the county combined them with their initial
DNA penalty collections. Further, representatives of three of the
nine counties—Inyo, Mariposa, and Siskiyou—stated that they did
not transfer 100 percent of the additional DNA penalty collections
to the State, as required by law. Rather, each county only transferred
70 percent of the collections, the percentage applicable to the initial
DNA penalty. Additionally, an official from Yolo County stated
that, although the court was assessing and collecting the additional
DNA penalty, due to a coding error, the county did not transfer its
additional DNA penalty collections to the State until March 2007.
Finally, an official from the Merced County Superior Court (Merced
court) acknowledged that the courts did not begin assessing the
additional DNA penalty until September 2007, 15 months after it
took effect. Although we were not able to determine the amount of

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November 2007

additional DNA penalties the Merced court should have assessed,
the county did transfer almost $125,000 to the State for the initial
DNA penalty assessment in 2006.
Many Counties Did Not Submit the Required Annual Reports, but
Contrary to the Information on the Justice Web Site, Most Did Collect
DNA Penalties and Transfer Money to the State DNA Fund
We also found that many counties failed to submit their
annual reports to Justice for 2005 and 2006. In the annual report,
which must be submitted to Justice and the Legislature on or before
April 1 each year, every county must include the total amount of
initial DNA penalties collected and allocated as specified in the
DNA act and the amount of DNA fund money expended. Justice
then makes data from the annual reports available on its Web site, as
required by the DNA act. However, rather than posting the individual
county reports on its Web site, Justice prepares and posts a summary
of the reports. Our review of the annual reports maintained by Justice
and follow-up interviews with staff at selected counties revealed that
many counties failed to meet the reporting requirement. Rather than
indicate on its Web site that certain counties did not submit annual
reports, Justice instead reported the collection and expenditure totals
for the nonreporting counties as zero. Justice officials acknowledged
that they did not make any attempts to contact the counties that
failed to submit reports.
Our review of the annual reports submitted to Justice confirmed
that as of June 2007 22 counties did not submit annual reports for
2005 and 24 did not submit reports for 2006. A review of the Justice
Web site also revealed that several counties failed to submit annual
reports for 2004; however, in that year Justice appropriately reported
that the counties failed to submit reports rather than reporting that
nothing was collected and expended by those counties. Because
many counties did not submit annual reports in 2005 and 2006, we
reviewed data provided by the state controller and found that all but
two counties—Modoc and Mono—did transfer initial DNA penalty
collections to the State.
The DNA act requires counties to transfer the State’s share of
DNA funds to the State Treasurer’s Office and submit a notice
of transfer to the state controller on a quarterly basis. According
to records from the state controller, which maintains data on
transfers from county DNA funds, the 22 counties that did not
submit annual reports for 2005 transferred to the State a total of
almost $1.6 million in initial DNA penalty collections for 2005,
and the 24 counties that did not submit annual reports for 2006
transferred almost $3.8 million for 2006. For instance, based on the
state controller’s records, Kern County transferred about $263,000

As of June 2007 22 counties did not
submit annual reports for 2005 and
24 did not submit reports for 2006.

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and $417,000 in initial DNA penalty fund money for 2005 and
2006, respectively. However, the Justice Web site indicates that
Kern County collected nothing in either year.
State controller records show that
county transfers to the State for
the initial DNA penalty collections
totaled almost $8 million in 2005
and $14.6 million in 2006.

As shown in the Appendix, based on our review of records
maintained by the state controller, county transfers to the State
for the initial DNA penalty collections totaled almost $8 million
in 2005 and $14.6 million in 2006. Thus, the information published
on the Justice Web site that makes it appear that many counties
were not properly assessing the initial DNA penalty or transferring
money to the State is misleading.
A director at the Justice DNA laboratory (lab director)
acknowledged that it does not have any written policies or
procedures that specify how the information is to be posted on
the Web site. However, he stated that Justice is in the process
of developing those procedures. Additionally, when asked what
prompted the change in the way Justice listed counties that failed
to submit annual reports, the lab director stated that when he
reviewed the 2004 summary spreadsheet, he requested that
counties failing to submit annual reports be listed as “not reported.”
However, the lab director admitted he did not make a similar
request for a change to the 2005 and 2006 postings. He agreed
that it would make more sense to list counties that failed to submit
annual reports as “not reported” and further indicated that Justice
will edit the 2005 and 2006 Web site information. The lab director
emphasized that it is each county’s responsibility to submit the
annual reports and that Justice’s responsibility is not to follow up
with counties that fail to do so but to make data from the reports
publicly available on its Web site.
Despite the lab director’s assertions, anyone relying on the Web site
information to make decisions, such as the Legislative Analyst’s
Office and the Legislature, could be misled by the data. Because
Justice is responsible for receiving the reports, presenting the data
on its Web site, and administering the DNA fund, it seems
reasonable to expect Justice to perform limited procedures to ensure
that counties are aware of and comply with the
reporting requirements.
Some Counties Were Unaware of the Requirements of the DNA Act
Regarding Reporting, Collecting, and Transferring DNA Fund Money
Based on interviews with county personnel, it appears that Justice
does not always receive the required annual DNA fund reports
because some counties are not aware that they are required to
submit them. As shown in the text box, Justice posts forms,
reports, and guidelines on its Web site that should provide

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November 2007

sufficient information to counties regarding the
requirements for submitting the annual reports.
For instance, the Web site specifies that the board
of supervisors in each county is responsible for
submitting an annual report on or before April 1.
Based on our review of the information available
on the Web site, the instructions for completing
and submitting the annual report appear adequate.
However, despite this information, we found that
three of the six counties we contacted that had not
submitted annual reports did not know that a report
on the DNA fund was required. Representatives of
the three remaining counties that were aware of the
requirement cited staff turnover as the reason for
not submitting annual reports.

Publications Available to Counties on the
Justice Web Site Related to the DNA Act
•	 DNA Database and Data Bank Program Annual DNA
Identification Fund Report Form and Instructions
•	 TC-31 Form: Report to State Controller of Remittance to
State Treasurer
•	 DNA penalty assessment guidelines issued by the
state controller
•	 Manual of Accounting and Auditing: Penalty, Additional
Penalty, and Assessment Distribution Chart, Chart of Penalty
and Assessment Distribution, issued by the state controller
Source:  Department of Justice Web site.

We also contacted the Mono County Superior Court
to determine why the county had not transferred any
DNA fund money to the State. According to an official at the court,
the DNA penalties were collected in 2005 and 2006 and sent to the
county. An official at the Mono County auditor-controller’s office
acknowledged that it had received the money and also confirmed
that it was not being transferred to the State because staff were
not aware of the DNA act requirements. However, as a result of
our audit, Mono County stated that it plans to transfer the $27,800
accumulated in its DNA fund and will continue to do so on a
quarterly basis in the future.
Additionally, we asked the Modoc County Superior Court (Modoc
court) why it did not transfer DNA funds to the State in 2005. An
official stated that it had collected approximately $3,000 in DNA
penalties; however, the money was distributed to the incorrect
fund. Moreover, according to an official at the Modoc court,
between January 2006 and August 2006, the court distributed an
additional $5,000 to the incorrect fund. The Modoc court did not
correct the erroneous distribution until September 2006. Although,
according to the court official, it began distributing the DNA
penalty collections to the correct fund, the Modoc court mistakenly
transferred all collections to the State, rather than retaining the
county’s 30 percent share. According to the Modoc court, it began
transferring the appropriate amounts as of December 2006 after
some guidance from the state controller.
Various Factors Affect the Amount and Timing of DNA Fund Money
Transferred to the State
Because of certain decisions rendered by the courts, the State is not
entitled to DNA fund money for every traffic and criminal violation.
For example, if an individual is incarcerated, the initial fine and any

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associated penalties may be reduced or eliminated for time served.
Consequently, the State will receive less DNA penalty fund money.
Further, when the court allows a person with a traffic violation to
attend traffic school, state law requires the court to collect a fee
from the individual attending traffic school that is equal to the total
bail that would have been assessed if the violation was disposed as
a conviction, which would include penalty assessments. However,
the State does not receive any DNA penalty money from traffic
school fees.
We also found that certain factors may lead to a significant length of
time between when a fine or penalty is imposed and when the State
receives its full share of the DNA fund money. For instance, court
policy may permit an individual several months before making any
payment, and state law allows up to 90 days before counties must
transfer money from their DNA funds to the State. Additionally, a
court may allow an offender to pay a fine in installments rather than
in a lump sum. Besides extending the time between the assessment
and collection of the fine, installment payments are first used to pay
for victim restitution and the state surcharge, if any, before going
toward any penalty assessments, further delaying the transfer of
money to the State. Finally, two of the three counties we visited
experienced delays in implementing the requirements of the DNA
act. When combined, these factors appear to have resulted in the
counties transferring less DNA fund money to the State during
the first few quarters after the effective date of the law. However,
quarterly transfers to the State have since increased.
The State Does Not Receive DNA Fund Money for Every Criminal and
Traffic Violation

State law gives the courts the
discretion to reduce total fines
imposed on offenders who
have served jail time, which can
ultimately reduce the amount of
DNA fund money transferred to
the State.

Although a particular offense may call for the assessment of
DNA penalties, courts have the discretion to waive the penalties
under certain circumstances. For instance, we identified examples
where the courts often waive or reduce fines for offenders who
are sentenced to, or have served jail time. In reviewing a sample
of 30 misdemeanor and felony violations we selected at the
three courts we visited, we found 25 cases in which the courts
sentenced offenders to jail time rather than assessing fines. State law
also gives the courts the discretion to reduce total fines imposed
on offenders who have served jail time. In these cases the offender
receives a credit not to exceed $30 for each day of time served, and
the credit applies to any fine on a proportional basis, including, but
not limited to, base fines and victim restitution. When such credits
are applied, they can ultimately reduce the amount of DNA fund
money transferred to the State.

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November 2007

Additionally, when the court orders or permits an offender to
attend traffic school, the State correctly does not receive any
DNA penalty payments. From a sample of 30 traffic citations we
selected at the three courts visited, we found four cases in which
the individual was ordered or allowed to attend traffic school.
State law requires the court to collect a fee equal to the total bail
that would have been assessed if the violation had been disposed
as a conviction, which includes penalty assessments, from every
person ordered or permitted to attend traffic school or any other
court‑supervised program of traffic safety instruction. However, no
DNA penalty revenues are derived from the fees collected for traffic
school are transferred to the State.
The Time Required to Assess, Collect, and Transfer DNA Fund Money to
the State Can Be Lengthy
Judicial discretion and state laws related to collecting and
transferring DNA penalty payments may prolong the time from
the citation date to the date the money ultimately reaches the
State, making the task of estimating when the State will receive
its share of DNA penalty assessments difficult. For instance, for a
typical traffic violation in Orange County, the court usually sends
a courtesy notice to the offender within 21 days of the violation
stating that the offender must pay the fine within a specific period,
generally 30 days, or take further action, such as contesting the
citation. The court clerk may also grant a 45-day extension for
payment of the fine. The court will accept payment in full or may
allow the individual to make monthly payments. If the offender pays
the full fine, the court transfers the money collected for the fine and
all related penalty assessments to the county auditor-controller
and must notify the county within 35 days of the amount to be
deposited in the county DNA fund.
After depositing the money in the DNA fund, the county
auditor‑controller has, by state law, up to three months to transfer
the State’s share to the state treasurer and the corresponding
remittance advice to the state controller. Such lengthy timelines were
evident in our sample of 48 items paid in a lump sum, in which it
took between 114 to 250 days from the date of the citation to the date
the county transferred the funds to the State.
When offenders are allowed to make installment payments, the
time between assessment and full collection of the penalty can
take several months to several years. The collection of penalty
payments can be delayed even more if the individual is required to
pay restitution to the victim or the state surcharge (20 percent of
the base fine), because state law requires the courts and counties
to apply payments to reimburse those costs before considering

For our sample of 48 items that were
paid in a lump sum, it took between
114 to 250 days from the date of
the citation to the date the county
transferred the funds to the State.

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any penalty assessments. For example, an individual was cited
for a misdemeanor in Orange County in January 2005 and was
subsequently required to pay $942: a $250 base fine; court fees of
$205, which included a $50 state surcharge; and various penalty
assessments totaling $487. The offender was allowed to make
monthly installment payments rather than pay the entire amount
in a lump sum. The first payment was received 54 days after the
date of the original citation. However, none of that first payment
was distributed to the DNA penalty assessment. Rather it was
distributed to higher-priority costs, such as the state surcharge, that,
in accordance with state law must be paid first. The final installment
payment, of which a portion was used to pay the remaining balance
of the DNA penalty, was not made until November 2005, more than
300 days after the date of the original citation.
Figure 3
Quarterly Transfers From Three Counties to the State DNA Identification Fund
$1,400

Los Angeles

Transfer Amount (in thousands)

1,200

1,000

800

600

Orange*

400
Sacramento†

200

0
1st quarter

2nd quarter

3rd quarter
2005

4th quarter

1st quarter

2nd quarter

3rd quarter

4th quarter

2006

Sources:  Reports from Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento counties to the State Controller’s Office on DNA Identification Fund (DNA fund) money
transferred to the State Treasurer’s Office (Form TC-31).
*	 Orange County included four months of DNA penalty collections in its second-quarter 2005 and 2006 transfers of DNA funds to the State.
Consequently, the county’s third-quarter transfers for 2005 and 2006 contained only two months of DNA penalty collections. All other quarterly
transfers to the State included three months of DNA penalty collections.
†	 Sacramento County included four months of DNA penalty collections in its second-quarter 2006 transfer of DNA funds to the State. Therefore, the
third-quarter 2006 transfer contained only two months of DNA penalty collections. All other quarterly transfers to the State included three months of
DNA penalty collections.

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November 2007

Finally, delays in implementing the requirements of the DNA act
may have resulted in lower initial transfers to the State. According
to officials at Los Angeles and Sacramento counties, the DNA act
provided little implementation time and required the courts to
reprogram their case management and cashiering systems. We
believe it is likely that, because of court decisions, state laws, and
implementation delays, counties transferred less DNA fund money
to the State in the first few months after the effective date of the
DNA act, as shown in Figure 3. However, the figure also shows that
the quarterly transfer totals of the counties we visited have generally
increased as the time since initial implementation has increased.
Counties Are Appropriately Using Their DNA Fund Money, but the
Money Is Not Sufficient to Pay for All Their Costs
The three counties we visited complied with the state requirements
for the use of money from the DNA fund. State law stipulates that
each county use its share of money from the DNA fund to pay for
specific goods and services, such as collecting DNA samples from
individuals that qualify and maintaining a work space sufficient for
collecting the DNA samples for submission to Justice. Our review of
expenditures at Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento counties
revealed that each county spent its DNA fund money in accordance
with state law. We also noted that each of the three counties incurred
allowable costs that exceeded its share of DNA fund money.
Consequently, the three counties had to use alternative funding
sources to pay the excess costs. This likely occurred because counties
retained only 30 percent of the DNA fund money they collected in
initial DNA penalties in 2005 and 2006; the DNA act required
counties to transfer the remaining 70 percent to the State. However,
the mandated county share rose to 50 percent in 2007 and will be
75 percent beginning in 2008. These increases should enable counties
to reimburse a greater portion of their costs related to the DNA
database and data bank program (DNA program).
Counties Are Using DNA Fund Money for Allowable
Purposes
Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento counties
used their DNA fund money for purposes allowed
by state law. As the text box shows, the law specifies
several appropriate uses; however, each county we
visited generally limited its use of DNA fund money
to reimbursing local law enforcement agencies
for the collection of DNA samples. The DNA act
requires the collection of DNA samples following
the conviction of an individual, and local law

Allowable Uses of DNA Fund Money
Counties must reimburse costs local law enforcement
agencies incur to collect DNA specimens and fingerprint
impressions. Such costs include the following:
•	 Expenditures and administrative costs related to
procuring equipment and software for confirming that a
person qualifies for inclusion in the DNA program.
•	 Expenditures and administrative costs related to
processing, analyzing, tracking, and storing DNA samples.
Source:  Government Code, Section 76104.6(b)(3).

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enforcement agencies are typically charged with the responsibility
of collecting the samples. According to unaudited data provided by
Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento counties, each collects a large
number of DNA samples from individuals eligible to be entered into
the state DNA program. For example, in 2005 the sheriff’s department
and various police departments in Los Angeles County indicated
that they had collected 30,285 DNA samples. That year the sheriff’s
and probation departments in Orange County reported collecting
26,304 DNA samples, and Sacramento County reported that its
sheriff’s department collected 5,701 DNA samples. All three counties
appropriately used DNA fund money to partially cover the costs of
collecting these DNA samples. Sacramento County also properly used
a portion of its DNA fund for a one-time purchase of equipment.
Although the rates charged for the collection of DNA samples
differed somewhat among the three counties, each county generally
charged a flat fee for every DNA sample collected. The DNA
act does not specify how the counties or local law enforcement
agencies should calculate costs or determine reimbursement.
Therefore, we did not attempt to assess whether the specific
rates charged were appropriate. However, we did review the
methodology each county used to set its rates and determined
that all three methods were reasonable. For example, Orange and
Sacramento counties based their reimbursement rates on cost
studies completed by local law enforcement agencies. Los Angeles
County based its rate on an amount previously approved by Justice.
After Experiencing Shortfalls, Counties May Be Better Able to Pay the
Costs Related to the DNA Program Because They Will Retain Larger
Portions of the DNA Penalty Assessments

Local law enforcement agencies in
Los Angeles County requested at
least $1.9 million in reimbursable
costs in 2006, yet the county retained
only $1.7 million in DNA funds.

In 2005 and 2006, the three counties we visited generally did
not have sufficient money in their DNA funds to fully reimburse
all local law enforcement agencies that reported incurring costs
associated with the DNA program. In these years, counties were
allowed to retain only 30 percent of their total initial DNA penalty
collections and were required to transfer the remaining 70 percent
to the State. For example, records from Orange County show that in
2005 local law enforcement agencies requested reimbursement for
at least $1.4 million in costs related to the DNA program. However,
the county’s share of the DNA penalty collections totaled only
$314,000. Similarly, local law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles
County requested at least $1.9 million in reimbursable costs
in 2006, yet the county retained only $1.7 million in DNA funds.
Because of the inadequate funding, the counties we visited could
reimburse the costs of only a few departments. For example,
Sacramento County used its DNA fund to reimburse only one

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agency, the County Sheriff ’s Department. To reimburse the County
Probation Department and the District Attorney’s Office for DNA
program-related expenses incurred in 2005 and 2006, Sacramento
County used its general fund rather than the DNA fund. Similarly,
Orange County used its DNA fund money to reimburse two
agencies, the County Sheriff ’s Department and the County
Probation Department. Although in 2005 and 2006 the Orange
County District Attorney’s Office also incurred expenses related
to implementing the DNA act, it did not receive reimbursements
from the DNA fund. Any other agency that incurred DNA
program‑related costs had to be reimbursed for the costs using
other county resources.
Beginning in 2009 counties will likely see DNA program-related
costs increase because they will be required to collect samples
from a larger pool of subjects. However, the increased share of
DNA penalty assessments counties will be allowed to keep in their
DNA  funds should help prevent further shortfalls. Currently, only
persons convicted of or pleading no contest to a felony or persons
arrested or charged with a felony sex offense, arson, murder, or
voluntary manslaughter must submit DNA samples. Beginning
in 2009 any individual arrested or charged with a felony offense will be
required to submit a DNA sample. Although the counties will likely
need to collect more samples, the share of DNA penalty assessment
collections that state law allows counties to retain will be 75 percent
beginning in 2008. Therefore, despite the heavier burden on counties
to collect and process more DNA evidence, the additional funding
should allow counties to pay for more of the reimbursable costs
they incur.
Courts Need to Improve Their Methods of Ensuring the Accuracy of
DNA Penalty Assessments and Distributions
Although we did not discover any significant errors in the
transactions we reviewed for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange,
and Sacramento superior courts, we identified weaknesses in data
entry and processing and internal controls that could affect many
of the DNA penalties processed by all three superior courts. The
monetary impact of the errors ranged from 1 cent to $54 per case.
While not individually significant, the potential volume of the errors
could prove significant.
The DNA penalty distributions calculated by the case management
system used by the Orange County Superior Court (Orange court)
resulted in rounding errors affecting 22 of the 40 cases we reviewed.
According to an official of the Administrative Office of the Courts
(AOC), the case management system the Orange court uses is a
precursor to the case management system that the AOC plans to

Despite the heavier burden on
counties to collect and process
more DNA evidence in 2009,
the additional funding from the
increased share of DNA penalty
assessments should allow counties
to pay for more of the reimbursable
costs they incur.

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California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

eventually implement statewide. Additionally, based on a report
issued by the Judicial Council of California (Judicial Council),
California Superior Court criminal case dispositions totaled more
than 6.4 million statewide for fiscal year 2005–06. Not every case
disposition—the final outcome of a case, such as a case dismissal or
criminal sentencing—results in penalty assessments. Nonetheless,
the magnitude of the rounding errors will be greatly increased
unless the AOC ensures that the cause of the rounding errors in the
precursor system is identified and corrected before it implements
the new statewide system. Moreover, when an individual was
allowed to make installment payments, the Orange court’s case
management system did not always distribute the payments
according to the priority order established by law.
We also identified a data entry error related to a specific type
of motor vehicle code offense occurring at one location of the
Los Angeles County Superior Court (Los Angeles court). The
resulting error appears to have been committed by one court
employee and covered at least a 12-month period between 2005
and 2006. Additionally, for three other cases we reviewed involving
another Los Angeles court location, the court did not properly assess
the DNA penalty for a particular type of misdemeanor offense.
Finally, we found that the Sacramento County Superior Court
(Sacramento court) erroneously transferred $292,000 to the State for
payments received for various vehicle code violations. Because the
relevant vehicle code violations had resulted in the court allowing
the offenders to attend traffic school, by law the county should have
retained the payments received from the offenders.
Table 2 shows the number of errors we identified in the 40 cases
we reviewed at each county. As the table illustrates, of the
120 violations, we identified 35 (29 percent) that had either a
distribution or an assessment error.
Table 2
Penalty Assessment and Distribution Errors in a Sample of Cases From
2005 and 2006

Testing Result

No error
Distribution error
Assessment error
Totals

Sacramento
County
superior Court

Los Angeles
County
Superior Court

Orange
County
superior Court

Totals

37

32

16

85

2

5

23

30

1

3

1

5

40

40

40

120

Sources:  Case files from the superior courts of Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Rounding Errors Caused by Its Case Management System Affect the
Distribution of DNA Penalties in Orange Court
The Orange court uses the Court Case Management System (CMS),
which is a precursor to the California Court Case Management
System being developed for statewide deployment by the AOC,
to track criminal and traffic cases. The Orange court is one of
five courts currently involved in piloting the development of the
statewide case management system. Among other functions,
the CMS calculates the total fine and the corresponding penalties,
including the initial and additional DNA penalties. A payment
made by an offender for a case or citation, whether a lump sum
or an installment payment, is automatically distributed, using
calculations programmed in the CMS, to the outstanding fees,
fines, and penalties included in the total fine. However, based
on our review of the distribution of payments for 40 cases, the
amounts calculated by the Orange court case management system
did not result in the correct amount of money being distributed to
the DNA fund in 22 of 40 cases because of rounding errors. Further,
the errors also resulted in an under- or overpayment to another
penalty fund.
The impact of the rounding errors for each case was minimal,
ranging from a 9-cent underpayment to a 1-cent overpayment,
but the errors occurred in more than half of our sample from
the Orange court. According to the 2007 Court Statistics Report:
Statewide Caseload Trends compiled by the Judicial Council, the
Orange court had more than 569,000 criminal and traffic case
filings in fiscal year 2005–06. However, not every case filing—the
initiation of a legal action with the court—results in a disposition.
Further, not every case with a disposition results in penalty
assessments. Yet, because of the large volume of case filings in
the Orange court, the number of cases affected by the rounding
errors we discovered could be significant. Moreover, although
the fiscal impact of the errors we identified at the Orange court
was small, if left uncorrected, the errors would continue for years,
thereby magnifying the monetary significance. More importantly,
if the AOC does not ensure that this type of distribution error
is addressed when developing the statewide system, the impact
of rounding errors will be even more significant. For example,
based on the Judicial Council’s report, criminal and traffic case
dispositions of the California Superior Court totaled more than
6.4 million statewide in fiscal year 2005–06.2

2	

The Judicial Council of California was not able to provide us with the number of dispositions for
the Orange County Superior Court.

The amounts calculated by the
Orange court case management
system did not result in the correct
amount of money being distributed
to the DNA fund in 22 of 40 cases
because of rounding errors.

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An official with the Orange court agreed with our conclusion,
acknowledging that the errors are the result of the rounded
percentages programmed into the CMS. According to the
official, when setting up the distribution percentages, the court
determined the most accurate result possible; however, occasional
rounding issues may occur as the base fines, and thus penalty
payments, increase. The official stated that at this time the court
is not pursuing any system changes but will review the current
programming for penalty distributions using a 15-digit decimal
place system to determine if updates are necessary. She also
reported that the court has not done any internal analysis to
determine the impact of the rounding issue over a fiscal year.
Besides the rounding errors, we identified two other errors related
to the CMS used by the Orange court. In one case the court
allowed a defendant to attend traffic school instead of paying a
fine. However, the system incorrectly identified the individual as
ineligible for traffic school. Consequently, the system distributed
the offender’s payment, totaling $435, to the various fines, fees,
and penalty funds, including the DNA penalty fund, instead of
transferring it to the city or county general fund. In the other
case the CMS incorrectly used a penalty assessment formula that
became effective after the date of the violation, resulting in a DNA
penalty that was just slightly larger than it should have been.
Further, for six of the 23 cases where we identified distribution
errors at the Orange court the offender was allowed to make
installment payments. However, the CMS did not distribute the
payments to the various fines, fees, and penalties in accordance
with the priority order established in state law. In one case, for
example, installment payments were distributed to the various
penalty assessments before the state surcharge was paid in full as
required by law. As discussed in the Introduction, fine payments
must first be distributed to restitution ordered to or on behalf of
the victim, followed by distribution to the state surcharge. The
third priority of installment payments includes any fines, penalty
assessments (including the DNA penalties), and other restitution
fines. An official at the Orange court agreed that the court should
reevaluate the distribution priorities programmed in the CMS.
Sacramento County Overpaid the State DNA Fund Because its Superior
Court Misinterpreted the Requirements for the Distribution of Traffic
School and Red-Light Violation Fees
Because of a misinterpretation of the guidance issued by the state
controller regarding how the distribution of penalty payments should
occur when offenders are sentenced to traffic school, the Sacramento
court allocated traffic school fees to the county’s DNA fund rather

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

than to the city or county’s general fund for one of the cases we
reviewed. After researching the issue further, the court determined
that it instructed the county to transfer substantially more money to
the state DNA fund than it should have because the misinterpretation
affected many cases. Specifically, between January 2005 and
March 2007, the county auditor-controller under direction from the
Sacramento court, incorrectly transferred $292,000 in traffic school
fees to the State. Further, according to an official of the Sacramento
court, when researching the errors we brought to her attention,
she found that an additional $210,000 in fees related to red-light
violations were mistakenly transferred to the State. The official stated
that the court has since corrected the problem as a result of our audit
and is now distributing funds correctly.
A budget analyst at the Sacramento court stated that she
misinterpreted the state controller’s distribution guidelines for
traffic school fees, which states that the fees should not be included
in remittances of DNA funds to the State. This misinterpretation
of guidelines does not appear to be isolated to the Sacramento
court. During its audits of court revenues, the state controller found
that another county included traffic school fees in its DNA fund
transfers to the State. In its audit of Fresno County court revenues
from July 2000 through June 2005, the state controller found that
the court incorrectly transferred more than $43,000 to the State.
We also found an assessment error at the Sacramento court that
resulted from a manual calculation error. For this case the court
assessed the additional DNA penalty even though the date of
the violation was before the effective date of the additional DNA
penalty. Further, we found that the Sacramento County Department
of Revenue Recovery, which acts as the collection agency for
installment payments, did not properly distribute payments to the
DNA penalties proportionately as required by state law. Both these
errors appear to be isolated.
The Los Angeles Court Did Not Accurately Assess and Distribute Money
to the DNA Fund for Two Types of Cases
One of the Los Angeles court locations failed to distribute money to
the DNA fund for some misdemeanor traffic offenses. In four criminal
traffic cases—two for 2005 and two for 2006—the Los Angeles
court did not distribute any money to the DNA fund. In each case,
processed by the same court employee, the correct amount of
money was assessed and collected; however the required distribution
of money to the DNA fund was not made. Although the total amount
that should have been allocated to the DNA fund for the four cases

Sacramento County transferred
substantially more money to the
state DNA fund than it should have
because the court allocated traffic
school fees to the county’s DNA fund
rather than to the city or county’s
general fund.

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November 2007

we reviewed was only $135, it appears likely that the court employee
was applying the wrong distribution code for all similar offenses she
processed during at least 2005 and 2006, the period of our review.
These errors occurred because the court employee, one of 13 judicial
assistants, used an incorrect penalty assessment distribution code
when processing the cases. The assistant forwarded the distribution
code and fine amount to the court cashier who manually entered the
data into the cashiering system. The distribution code contains
the formula for how the system should distribute the penalty
payment. Officials with the court stated that most traffic violation
fines it assesses are not manually coded but are automatically
distributed correctly by the court’s cashiering system. Although
the officials emphasized that errors made by one clerk out of
one courtroom are not representative of all criminal cases in the
system, they plan to correct any manual coding errors made by
the cashiers.
We identified three additional manual processing errors at another
Los Angeles court location. In each case the court overassessed the
total amount for all penalty assessments by $5 to $7. Although
the total dollar amount of the errors was insignificant, because the
errors were at the same court location and involved similar types of
offenses, it is possible that more errors occurred than the three we
identified. An official at the Los Angeles court acknowledged
that procedures were not being followed. In addition to the
errors previously discussed, we identified one case in which
the Los Angeles court did not distribute installment payments
according to the priority order established in state law. Unlike the
priority order errors we found at the Orange court, the error in
this case involved manually distributed funds and appears to be an
isolated occurrence.
Recommendations
To provide a full accounting of the DNA fund money counties
collect and transfer, the Legislature should consider revising
state law to require counties to include in their annual reports
information on the additional DNA penalty established by
Chapter 69, Statutes of 2006.
Because state law requires Justice to make county-reported data
available on its Web site, Justice should do the following to ensure
that the data on county DNA fund activities are accurate:
•	 Annually notify counties that they are statutorily required to
submit reports on or before April 1 to the Legislature and Justice.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

•	 Contact each county that does not submit an annual report by
the deadline.
•	 Establish policies and procedures for posting the county data on
its Web site.
•	 Clearly indicate on its Web site if a county failed to submit an
annual report.
County boards of supervisors should ensure that they promptly
submit annual reports to Justice and the Legislature as required by
the DNA act.
To ensure that the distribution of payments for all fines, fees, and
penalty assessments charged to offenders comply with all applicable
laws and regulations, the AOC should do the following:
•	 Work with the Orange court to estimate the total dollar effect
of the rounding errors in calculating the penalty assessment
distribution to determine whether it will have a significant
financial impact on the State. If the AOC determines that the
impact will be significant, it should ensure that the Orange court
makes the necessary modifications to the distributions calculated
by its case management system. Further, as it proceeds with
developing the statewide case management system, the AOC
should ensure that the system correctly distributes payments
to the appropriate funds in accordance with all applicable laws
and regulations.
•	 Ensure that the Orange court reevaluates and makes necessary
corrections to the distribution priority order programmed into
its case management system.
•	 Ensure that the Los Angeles court corrects any manual coding
errors and strengthens internal controls over data entry.
•	 Ensure that the Sacramento court continues its efforts to correct
any overpayments made to the state DNA fund.
•	 Contact the courts in the counties that did not report
transferring to the State any money or only part of the money
for the additional DNA penalty to determine whether they are
appropriately assessing the penalty.
The state controller should contact the auditor-controllers in the
counties that did not report transferring to the State any money or
only part of the money for the additional DNA penalty to ensure
that counties and courts correctly assess, collect, and transfer the
money to the State.

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November 2007

We conducted this review under the authority vested in the California State Auditor by Section 8543
et seq. of the California Government Code and according to generally accepted government auditing
standards. We limited our review to those areas specified in the audit scope section of the report.
Respectfully submitted,

ELAINE M. HOWLE
State Auditor
Date:	 November 29, 2007
Staff:	

Steven A. Cummins, CPA, Audit Principal
Heather Kopeck, MPP
Chuck Kocher
Daniel Hoang, MPP
Joseph Archuleta, MPA

For questions regarding the contents of this report, please contact
Margarita Fernández, Chief of Public Affairs, at (916) 445-0255.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Appendix
County Transfers to the State DNA
Identification Fund
To comply with the 2004 DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and
Innocence Protection Act (DNA act), each county must make a
quarterly transfer of money from its DNA Identification Fund
(DNA fund) to the State Treasurer’s Office for deposit in the state
DNA fund. At the same time, each county submits a Report to State
Controller of Remittance to State Treasurer (TC-31 Form) to notify
the State Controller’s Office of the amount transferred. Because the
transfer occurs after the county collects DNA penalty payments
and deposits them in its DNA fund, the TC-31 Form identifies the
applicable month and year the county collected the payments related
to the transfers.
Using data the counties reported to the state controller, we
calculated the total annual DNA fund money that counties
collected from the penalty required by the DNA act (initial DNA
penalty) in 2005 and 2006 and transferred to the State as of
July 2007. The transferred amounts are shown in Table A. The
table does not include any amounts the counties transferred to
the State related to the additional DNA penalty required by the
2006 amendment to the DNA act. As described in the body of
our report, the amendment to the DNA act did not mandate that
counties report data regarding the additional DNA penalty to the
Department of Justice or the Legislature.
Table A
Initial DNA Penalty Collections Transferred From Counties to the State DNA
Identification Fund in 2005 and 2006
County

Alameda

2005

$69,310

2006

$907,194

Totals

$976,504

Alpine

2,385

2,705

5,090

Amador

6,609

28,299

34,908

20,647

54,574*

75,221

9,983

17,656

27,639

Butte
Calaveras
Colusa
Contra Costa

10,655

24,242

34,897

110,707

244,170*

354,877

Del Norte

6,168

12,094

18,262

El Dorado

22,632

37,325

59,957

Fresno

209,438

326,940

536,378

Glenn

14,315

22,681

36,996

Humboldt

22,299

54,878

77,177

Imperial

40,197

103,650

143,847
continued on next page

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November 2007

County

2005

2006

Totals

36,749*†

Inyo

21,946

Kern

263,195

417,071

680,266

Kings

25,077

50,600

75,677

7,527

16,272

23,799

13,024

26,490*

39,514

Lake
Lassen
Los Angeles
Madera
Marin
Mariposa

58,695

2,202,713

3,979,857

6,182,570

14,197

38,868

53,065

102,934

153,848

256,782

405

17,594*†

17,999

Mendocino

21,866

55,369

77,235

Merced

42,648

124,782

167,430

Modoc‡

0

2,021

2,021

Mono‡

0

0

0

Monterey
Napa

111,897

233,512*

345,409

36,320

53,069

89,389

Nevada

28,302

74,889

103,191

Orange

732,285

1,488,520

2,220,805

Placer

137,282

154,216

291,498

8,441

13,775

22,216

Riverside

377,192

716,783

1,093,975

Sacramento

301,660

673,848

975,508

Plumas

San Benito
San Bernardino
San Diego

13,975

26,629

40,604

256,657

445,183

701,840

1,008,499

903,704

1,912,203

San Francisco

91,040

126,943

217,983

San Joaquin

218,066

437,009*

655,075

99,032

126,077

225,109

107,832

276,487

384,319

91,878

105,231

197,109

Santa Clara

130,601

496,837

627,438

Santa Cruz

59,450

81,905

141,355

Shasta

32,836

72,087

104,923

Sierra

1,931

4,183

6,114

Siskiyou

68,337

98,597*†

Solano

101,871

168,201

270,072

Sonoma

66,611

175,068

241,679

Stanislaus

86,868

140,396

227,264

Sutter

21,061

59,168

80,229

Tehama

22,950

43,962

66,912

San Luis Obispo
San Mateo
Santa Barbara

Trinity

3,258

Tulare

29,377

5,217*
56,394

166,934

8,475
85,771

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

County

Tuolumne
Ventura
Yolo
Yuba
Totals

2005

2006

Totals

11,443

23,527

34,970

423,908

460,690

884,598

18,323

35,918

54,241

35,655

75,166

110,821

$7,995,715

$14,609,120

$22,604,835

Sources:  Reports from the counties to the State Controller’s Office (state controller) on DNA
Identification Fund money transferred to the State Treasurer’s Office (Form TC-31).
Note:  The shaded amounts indicate that the county did not submit the Annual DNA Identification
Fund Report to Justice for that calendar year.
*	 As discussed on page 16 of the report, according to representatives from these counties, rather
than identify the collections separately on the documentation sent to the state controller, the
counties combined their DNA penalty collections. Thus, the amount of the county’s 2006 DNA
penalty collections includes both initial and additional penalty collections.
†	 As discussed on page 16 of the report, these counties asserted that they transferred 70 percent of
their additional DNA penalty collections to the State rather than 100 percent, as required by law.
‡	 As described in the report, Modoc and Mono counties did not transfer any initial DNA penalty
money to the State for 2005, and Mono did not transfer any of this money to the State for 2006.

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(Agency response provided as text only.)
Department of Justice
P.O. BOX 903281
Sacramento, CA 94203-2810
November 15, 2007
Ms. Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor*
Bureau of State Audits
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE:	

BSA Audit Response - DNA Identification Fund

Dear Ms. Howle:
We have carefully reviewed the findings of the Bureau of State Audits (BSA) in your November 2007 report
entitled “DNA Identification Fund: Improvements Are Needed in Reporting Fund Reserves and Assessing and
Distributing DNA Penalties, but Counties and Courts Properly Collect Penalties and Transfer Revenues to the
State.” Our Responses to your recommendations are as follows:
FINDING: The reporting of data on county DNA Identification (ID) Funds needs to improve.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Because state law requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make county
reported data available on its Web site, to ensure that the county DNA ID fund activity data is accurate,
DOJ should do the following:
•	 Annually notify counties that they are statutorily required to submit an Annual County DNA
Identification Fund Report (annual report) on or before April 1 of each year to the Legislature and
the DOJ.
Every February, the Bureau of Forensic Services (BFS) Data Bank currently sends out a form letter to all
counties reminding them that the report for the previous year is due on or before April 1. The letter
includes the link to the Web site where the report form can be found. Since not all counties have been
compliant, BFS agrees to send a follow-up reminder by mass e-mail in March to all counties.
•	 Contact counties that do not submit the annual report by the deadline.
A formal letter from the Attorney General will be sent in May to those counties that have not
submitted an annual report by the April 1 deadline.
•	 Establish policies and procedures for posting the county data on its Web site.
BFS is currently preparing internal policies and procedures specific to posting county DNA ID Fund
data on its Web site.

*	 California State Auditor’s comments begin on page 41.

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California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Ms. Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor
November 15, 2007
Page 2

•	 Clearly indicate on its Web site any counties that failed to submit an annual report.
BFS confirms that formal policies and procedures will dictate that Web-postings will reflect future
collections as “not reported” should a county fail to submit an annual report by April 1.
2

The only other recommendations of the BSA audit additionally focused on reporting improvements:
•	 To provide users with a complete picture of the DNA ID funds counties collect and transfer, the
Legislature should consider revising Government Code Section 76104.7, established by Chapter 69,
Statutes of 2006, to require counties to include in their annual reports information related to the
additional DNA penalty.
•	 The County Boards of Supervisors should ensure that they promptly submit the annual reports to DOJ
and the Legislature as required by the DNA act.

2

2

Neither of these recommendations speaks to the need to improve the accuracy of violation assessments,
collections, distribution and remittance of the DNA penalties to the State as prescribed by the
State Controller.
Of critical importance to DOJ and the Proposition 69 DNA Program, is the viability of the ongoing DNA ID
Fund revenue stream. Historically, total collections from the counties significantly under ran expectations
of both the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office. These funding shortfalls were
sufficiently severe that Prop 69 operations were abruptly curtailed mid-fiscal year 2005/06. Emergency
support from the legislature arrived in the form of the mandated additional dollar of penalty collections, as
well as in General Fund budget augmentations appropriated for 2006/07 and 2007/08. However, it must
be noted that these collection deficiencies were real shortfalls, completely unrelated to the DOJ reporting
issues highlighted in this audit.

4

Although revenues have improved, a summary of DNA ID Fund revenues received by the State Controller
in the month of July 2007 shows that 34 counties remitted DNA ID Fund penalties attributed to the quarter
ending June 2007. Of those 34 counties reporting, 28 remitted both the initial DNA penalty and the
additional penalty; five counties were attributed with only initial penalty remittances and one county with
only additional penalties. In comparing the dollars submitted for each type of penalty, the ratio of additional
penalties to initial penalties should be 2:1 ($1 additional penalty dollar vs. $0.50 of the initial dollar that is
remitted to the State). However, actual receipts from the 28 counties submitting both penalties reflected
a ratio of only 1:29. Assuming that the same violation base is used for the initial and additional penalties, a
ratio of less than 2:0 indicates collection or remittance issues at the county level.

5

A similar comparison of revenues received in October 2007 attributed to the quarter ending September 2007,
shows 25 counties remitted both the initial and additional penalties, with an improved ratio of penalty dollars
at 1:58. It is believed that the initiation of the BSA audit this past summer certainly helped educate a number
of the counties and resulted in improved collections. However, the dollar ratio remaining at less than 2:0
continues to reflect discrepancies that are inconsistent with the findings of this BSA audit, namely “Counties
and Courts Properly Collect Penalties and Transfer Revenues to the State.”

3

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Ms. Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor
November 15, 2007
Page 3

Without knowing the number of dollars of violations assessed, DOJ can only question the methodology by
which penalties are collected and remitted to the State, and whether county procedures are consistent with
the guidelines provided to them by the State Controller. DOJ also has a direct responsibility to the State of
California to carry out the people’s Proposition 69 Initiative mandate. DOJ therefore requires assurances that
the counties’ assessment of violations, collection, distribution and remittance of DNA penalties to the State
are being appropriately handled. Without those assurances, DOJ will never be able to verify the correct level
of DNA ID Fund support, we may not have sufficient funding to meet required program growth with the
all‑arrestee provision in January 2009, and may be forever dependent on General Fund support.
Should you have any questions or additional concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
(Signed by: Richard J. Lopes)
RICHARD J. LOPES, Deputy Director
Division of Law Enforcement
For	

EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Attorney General

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Comments
California State Auditor’s comments on the
response from the Department of Justice
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the
Department of Justice’s (Justice) response to our audit. The numbers
below correspond to the numbers we have placed in its response.
We are pleased that Justice indicates that it now has a policy in
place to remind counties of the requirement to submit the annual
reports. We contacted an official of Justice to determine
the effective date of the policy. The official acknowledged that the
policy was not in effect for 2005 and 2006, the period of our review.
Rather, Justice plans to move forward with implementing the policy
based on our recommendation.

1

We concur that the recommendations we directed to Justice
relate to reporting improvements as opposed to improvements in
the accuracy of violation assessments, collections, distributions,
and remittances of DNA penalties to the State, because Justice
is responsible for making county-reported data available on its
Web site. However, our report also includes recommendations
directed to other parties responsible for the accurate assessment,
collection, distribution, and transfer of DNA penalties. As
explained at the exit conference and indicated in the cover letter
accompanying the draft of the audit report we shared with Justice,
the draft report was redacted and included only the findings and
recommendations that pertain to Justice. To comply with sections
8545(b) and 8545.1 of the Government Code, which require that
we keep the results of audits confidential until the public release
of the audit report, we are not able to share with each party the
entire draft of an audit report when it includes findings and
recommendations related to multiple parties.

2

Moreover, requiring and monitoring county reporting plays an
important part in ensuring that counties and courts correctly
assess, collect and transfer DNA fund money to the State. This is
illustrated on page 19 of the report where we note that two counties
that failed to submit the reports—Modoc and Mono—did not
transfer DNA penalty collections to the State.
Justice did not share this data with us during the audit and therefore
we cannot confirm the analysis that they performed. Additionally,
the scope of our audit covered 2005 and 2006 and, thus, the
July 2007 data was outside of the period of our review. However, we
are concerned with Justice’s implication that only 34 of the counties
transferred any funds to the State for the quarter ending June 2007.

3

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November 2007

During our review of the state controller’s records, we noted that
many counties do not transfer collections to the State in the month
immediately following the end of a quarter. For example, during
our review of the three counties we visited, we noted instances
when the State did not receive the funds until two to three months
after the end of a quarter. However, because the money was
ultimately transferred with interest, as required by law, a minor
delay in transferring money does not have any fiscal impact on
the State.
4

To the extent that the State and county shares of DNA penalties
remained constant for an extended period of time, Justice’s
expectation of a 2-to-1 ratio between the additional and initial DNA
penalty might be reasonable. However, as shown in Table 1 of our
report, the State share of the initial penalty was 70 percent prior to
2007 and will drop to 25 percent in 2008. These changes coupled
with the lengthy timelines we observed from the date of a citation
to the date a county transfers money to the State make Justice’s
expectation unrealistic. In particular, as described on page 21 of our
report, it took between 114 to 250 days from the date of the citation
to the date the county transferred money to the State for 48 of our
sample items that were paid in a lump sum.

5

Our report title was modified slightly during our quality control
process to reflect that counties and courts we reviewed have
properly collected penalties and transferred revenues to the State.
Our title accurately reflects the results of our testing of a sample of
DNA penalties assessed in Los Angeles, Orange, and Sacramento
counties during 2005 and 2006 where, as indicated on page 25 of
our report, we did not discover any significant errors.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

(Agency response provided as text only.)
Judicial Council of California
Administrative Office of the Courts
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102
November 14, 2007
Ms. Elaine M. Howle
State Auditor
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Ms. Howle:
I am responding on behalf of Chief Justice Ronald M. George to the audit report prepared by your office
which examined the assessment, distribution, and collection of penalty assessments established under
Government Code sections 76104.6 and 76104.7 (aka the DNA Initiative penalty assessments). I appreciate
the time and effort expended by your staff in conducting this examination and preparing a helpful report
on the results of the audit. Reviews, such as this audit, of the activities of the California courts contribute to
their continued improvement and assists in ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The audit report recommends that the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) should assist and monitor
correction, as necessary, in addressing the issues and recommendations identified in the report. We have
discussed the issues identified and are working with the courts mentioned to address the recommendations
in the report. The issues, recommendations, and responses are detailed below. The responses were received
from the courts and were reviewed by AOC personnel.
The discussion below responds to the four recommendations contained in the report. These recommendations
were reviewed with the courts identified; their responses to the issues and recommendations in your report are
contained below. The Internal Audit Services Unit (IAS) of the AOC will ensure that the audit’s results continue
to be emphasized in their future audits and will follow-up on corrective actions as outlined below.
Superior Court of Orange County
•	 “Work with the Orange Superior Court to estimate the total dollar effect of the penalty assessment
distribution rounding error to determine whether it will have a significant financial impact on the
State. If the AOC determines that the impact will be significant it should ensure that the court makes
the necessary modifications to the system distribution calculations. Further, the AOC should ensure
that as it proceeds with the development of the statewide California Court Case Management
System that the system correctly distributes payments to the appropriate funds in accordance with
all applicable laws and regulations.”
•	 “Ensure that the Orange Superior Court re-evaluates, and corrects if necessary, the payment priority
order programmed into its case management system.”

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November 2007

Ms. Elaine M. Howle
November 14, 2007
Page 2

Court Response
“The Superior Court of Orange County concurs with the two above recommendations and will make
all necessary corrections to the Court Case Management System (Vision 1.59). The corrections will be
as follows:
Bullet One:  The Superior Court of Orange County will increase the field definition to the number
of decimal points in order to accommodate appropriate precision for fund distribution. Estimated
time of completion: March 31, 2008.
Bullet Two:  The Superior Court of Orange County will evaluate current distribution priorities
programmed in our Court Case Management System (Vision 1.59) to ensure that they are
in compliance with PC 1203.1d and SCO Assembly Bill 3000. As discrepancies are noted, the
appropriate action will be taken to correct the distribution priority for current and future
distributions. Estimated time of completion: January 31, 2008.”
In conjunction with the Court, the AOC has evaluated the potential impact of the rounding errors. We agree
that an error rate of 55 percent (22 out of 40 distributions tested) is too high. The impact of the rounding
errors for each case was minimal, ranging from a 9-cent underpayment to a 1-cent overpayment. Given that
the sampling was not on a random basis, the sample cannot be validly extrapolated to the entire population.
For purposes of our evaluation, the following is the AOC extrapolation. According to the 2007 Court
Statistics Report: Statewide Caseload Trends for fiscal years 1996–1997 through 2005–2006 compiled by the
Judicial Council of California, the Superior Court of Orange County had 569,231 criminal filings in fiscal
year 2005–2006; with a statewide disposition rate of 91 per 100 filings there would be approximately
518,000 dispositions. If we take the worst case assumption of a 9-cent underpayment, the impact is only
approximately $46,600, or only 0.4 percent of the approximately $13 million of remittances for the same
period to the state for the Proposition 69 Fund. It is our goal and the goal of the court to implement all of
these activities accurately and, as such, the court will correct the system programming as noted above.
Further, during the development of the statewide California Court Case Management System (CCMS),
the AOC will ensure that complete reviews will be conducted to ensure to the best of our ability that the
system correctly distributes payments to the appropriate funds in accordance with all applicable laws
and regulations.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County
•	 “Ensure that the Los Angeles Superior Court corrects any manual coding errors and strengthens
internal controls over data entry.”
Court Response
“The Superior Court of Los Angeles County agrees with the recommendation and has taken steps to
ensure that manual coding cashier errors are identified and corrected.”

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Ms. Elaine M. Howle
November 14, 2007
Page 3

Superior Court of Sacramento County
•	 “Ensure that the Sacramento Superior Court continues its efforts to correct any overpayments made to
the State’s DNA penalty fund.”
Court Response
“The Superior Court of Sacramento County concurs with the BSA finding concerning the distribution
of the DNA penalty, which resulted from a misinterpretation of the guidelines issued by the State
Controller’s Office. Similarly, the noted red light penalties were incorrectly distributed following a similar
misinterpretation. The Superior Court of Sacramento County has made all necessary corrections to
processes and database systems to properly capture and distribute these penalties going forward in
accordance with the interpretation provided from this audit.
Concerning the prior incorrectly distributed amounts of these two penalties, the Superior Court of
Sacramento County has made corrections to an estimated 25 percent of the amounts. This process of
reversing the distributions will take a number of months as the reversal is incumbent on the amount
of monthly collections for the respective penalties. The Superior Court of Sacramento County estimates
that corrections to prior distributions will be completed by March 2008.”
Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC)
•	 “Contact the courts in the counties that did not report transferring any money to the State for the
additional DNA penalty to determine whether they are appropriately assessing the penalty.”
AOC Response
The AOC concurs with the recommendation and will take appropriate corrective action if needed.
As we hope the responses above make clear, we are committed to taking the necessary steps on an
immediate basis to correct issues identified in any audit of the judicial branch. As the audit was only
a sampling of the superior courts of California, I have requested that the Manager of IAS monitor the
corrections of the issues identified by the state audit and also ensure that IAS’s audit programs continue
to cover the testing of distributions, such as those above, in each of their future audits. As you are aware,
however, with an audit cycle of approximately four years, it is possible that IAS may not be able to review
implementation of changes in distributions at individual courts in as timely a manner as we would prefer.
As previously discussed with the audit team, AOC audits of the superior courts include the testing of
distributions, but only on a sample basis for a limited number of distributions. As an example, during our
audit of the Superior Court of Orange County this year, IAS identified rounding problems, similar to those
identified in the state audit, and other distribution issues, which the Court was in the process of correcting.

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California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

Ms. Elaine M. Howle
November 14, 2007
Page 4

Additionally, as the administrative office for the branch, we provide support to the courts regarding the
implementation of new legislation and information about changes in assessments and distributions. This
support assists the courts in the discharge of their duties with respect to ensuring that distribution changes
are made on an accurate and timely basis. This support includes:
•	 Systemwide notices concerning new legislation and its impact on the courts;
•	 Training sessions at regional meetings; and
•	 New law workshops sponsored jointly by the California Trial Court Clerks Association and
Judicial Council.
On a long-term basis, we are in the process of developing a statewide case management system for all
courts to utilize. Development is scheduled to be completed in approximately three years, and anticipated
deployment to all courts by 2012. Among its many advantages, the one most directly affecting the
assessment and distribution processes is the use of one statewide distribution table for all courts. This
table will be updated after appropriate reviews of statewide legislative and local ordinance changes. The
system will also make it easier to monitor and audit distributions.
Thank you for the assistance provided through the audit process and final report. I look forward to working
with you in the future.
Sincerely,
(Signed by: John A. Judnick for)
William C. Vickrey
Administrative Director of the Courts

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

(Agency response provided as text only.)
Office of the State Controller
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1850
Sacramento, CA 95814
November 15, 2007
Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor
Bureau of State Audits
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re:	

November 2007 Audit of the DNA Identification Fund

Dear Ms. Howle:
The California State Controller’s Office (SCO) appreciates the opportunity to respond to the November 2007
draft audit of the DNA Identification Fund. We acknowledge the Bureau of State’s Audits’ (BSA) time and
effort dedicated to preparing this comprehensive report. The following is our response to the findings and
recommendations of the audit:
Recommendation:
“The state controller should contact the auditor-controllers in the counties that did not report any transfers
of the additional DNA penalty to the State to ensure that the penalty is being assessed and the money is
correctly transferred to the State.“
Response:
As indicated in this report, the SCO regularly conducts audits of the counties court remittances to
the state as required by law, and as such, informs the counties when remittances are not properly
transferred. We agree there needs to be greater communication on the subject of DNA revenue
remittances and the SCO will inform all county auditor-controller’s of the specific requirements of the
DNA penalties. In addition, SCO staff will ensure this subject is addressed at the next meeting between
the State Controller’s Office and County Auditor-Controller’s.
Again, we appreciate the opportunity to respond to your draft audit report. If you have additional questions,
please contact John Korach, Chief, Division of Accounting and Reporting, at (916) 327-4144.
Sincerely,
(Signed by: John Chiang)
JOHN CHIANG
California State Controller

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Blank page inserted for reproduction purposes only.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

(Agency response provided as text only.)
Superior Court of California
County of Los Angeles
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
November 15, 2007
Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor
Bureau of State Audits
555 Capital Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Ms. Howle:
SUBJECT:  RESPONSE TO DNA IDENTIFICATION FUND AUDIT REPORT
Below is our response to the audit report entitled “DNA Identification Fund: Improvements Are Needed in
Reporting Fund Revenues and Assessing and Distributing DNA Penalties, but Counties and Courts Properly
Collect Penalties and Transfer Revenues to the State”.
Audit Recommendation:
Ensure that the Los Angeles Superior Court corrects any manual coding errors and strengthens internal
controls over data entry.
Los Angeles Superior Court Response:
The Los Angeles Superior Court agrees with the recommendation and has taken steps to ensure that manual
coding errors are corrected, and that internal controls are strengthened over data entry.
If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Debbie SooHoo of my staff at
dsoohoo@lasuperiorcourt.org or (213) 974-6091.
Sincerely,
(Signed by: William H. Mitchell)
William H. Mitchell, Deputy Executive Officer
Administration/Finance

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Blank page inserted for reproduction purposes only.

California State Auditor Report 2007-109

November 2007

(Agency response provided as text only.)
Superior Court of California
County of Sacramento
720 Ninth Street
Sacramento, California 95814
November 9, 2007
Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor
Bureau of State Audits
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re:  Review and Comment in “DNA Identification Fund: Improvements are Needed in Reporting Fund Revenues and
Assessing and Distributing DNA Penalties, but Counties and Courts Properly Collect Penalties and Transfer Revenues
to the State.”
Dear Ms. Howle:
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on your draft audit report cited above. The
Sacramento Superior Court appreciates the need for such audits as we all owe it to the public to insure that
the systems and processes required by our laws are actually functioning properly.
The identification of isolated errors in the assessment and distribution of DNA penalties has allowed
Sacramento Superior Court to correct those isolated errors and to improve data entry and processing
internal controls to minimize any future errors. The fact that your auditors didn’t view the isolated errors as
“significant” in no way affects our commitment to correct all identified errors as the goal is always 100%
accuracy in compliance with the law.
The ultimate conclusion that the courts are properly collecting penalties and properly transferring revenues
to the State is viewed by the Sacramento Superior Court as a welcome validation that the system is working
properly. Thanks again for your Bureau’s efforts in preparing this report as requested by the Joint Legislative
Audit Committee.
Sincerely,
(Signed by: Roland L. Candee)
ROLAND L. CANDEE
Presiding Judge

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November 2007

cc:	
	
	
	
	
	
	
	
	
	
	
	

Members of the Legislature
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Milton Marks Commission on California State
Government Organization and Economy
Department of Finance
Attorney General
State Controller
State Treasurer
Legislative Analyst
Senate Office of Research
California Research Bureau
Capitol Press

 

 

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