Proposal Expands DNA Use by Police
State lawmakers in South Carolina are weighing legislation that would allow police officers to obtain DNA samples from anyone arrested for any crime, regardless of the severity of the crime. Under the measure, law enforcement officials would be permitted to take samples before the felon is tried for the crime. The proposal is being sharply criticized by some civil rights advocates, who complain that the measure exceeds legal boundaries. But supporters of the measure counter that the bill does not withhold due process to arrestees, arguing that in restricting access to the databank and requiring the destruction of samples if charges are dropped, the measure makes sure that the civil rights and personal privacy of suspects are preserved. “It is no more invasive than fingerprinting”, says Senate Pro Tem Glenn McConnell. “I see a tremendous amount of benefit for the law-abiding public.” South Carolina already has a DNA databank; however, if passed, the bill would be the strictest DNA sampling protocol in the country.
Source: Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Charleston Post and Courier (01/03/07) P. A1; Wenger, Yvonne M.