Monday, May 24, 2010

Compulsory collection of DNA for all arrests...

Congress is passing a bill that will give funding to any state that agrees to collect DNA evidence for everyone arrested for a crime. That's arrested, not convicted. It takes place for serious crimes: murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, and kidnapping. But it also includes burglary, attempted burglary, and assault.

Congress Coaxes States to Collect DNA (

California already has a law like this on the books.
New York is considering such a bill.

In fact, 21 states now take DNA upon arrest.

The ACLU has released figures showing that in 2007, out of 332,000 felony arrests, 101,000 of them, or 30%, were never convicted.

This law is just wrong. It's one thing to take DNA from a convicted felon and quite another to take it from an innocent person. One of the foundations of our Democracy is 'innocent until proven guilty.' This law ignores this basic fact. The Supreme Court has not taken up this law yet, but when it does, I feel confident it will strike it down.

It doesn't matter the severity of the crime, or who witnessed it, or even if the person admits their culpability. Their DNA should ONLY be taken if they are convicted of the crime. Not before.

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