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Lawmakers push for DNA collection from felony arrestees

December 7, 2016

A bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday announced legislation that would require collection of DNA from people arrested for a felony. The proposed legislation will be introduced in the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Unlike prior legislative efforts to include DNA samples of arrestees in the state’s criminal database, the proposed legislation would permit expungement of that evidence only upon an arrestee’s acquittal, and not in the event of dismissal or non-filing of charges.

Sens. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) and Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), and Reps. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) and Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), unveiled the bill at a Statehouse news conference accompanied by Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer and Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen.

“Keeping our communities safe and giving law enforcement every tool they need to do their jobs efficiently and accurately is a top priority,” Houchin said. “DNA profiling is an accurate, widely used tool that will help law enforcement solve crimes and convict those who are responsible.”

The draft legislation would require every person arrested for a felony after June 30, 2017, to submit a buccal (cheek) swab DNA sample that would be stored in the state’s DNA database. The legislation would also:

  • provide for expungement of the DNA sample for people who are acquitted of all felony charges;
  • require an arrestee be notified of the right to expungement upon acquittal and be provided such forms;
  • increase the DNA sample processing fee from $2 to $4;
  • permit an increase or revocation of bail if DNA evidence appears to connect a person to other crimes.


Houchin said the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the practice of obtaining DNA samples from felony arrestees and more than 30 states and the federal government have laws that authorize the analysis of DNA samples collected from individuals arrested or charged with certain crimes.
 

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