Pennsylvania Faces Criticism for Expanding Bill to Collect DNA upon Arrest
Filed under Testing on 4/9/2011 by Author: .

Senate Bill 775, introduced by State Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-9th Dist.), to collect DNA from suspects at the time of their arrests in Pennsylvania is running into resistance from critics. These critics warn that the state's forensic lab is already inundated and struggles to meet current demand and a flood of additional samples would only worsen the backlog. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU) also opposes collecting DNA from people who have been arrested but not convicted of crimes.  They have taken the position that the legislation could violate the Fourth Amendment's guarantee from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The bill would not only authorize police to collect DNA at the time of arrest but also expand the list of criminal offenses for which DNA may be collected to help investigators solve crimes more quickly.  Currently, the Pennsylvania's DNA database has more than 241,000 convicted offenders registered in the National Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS.
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