NJ Bill Would Collect DNA from Those Who Commit Misdemeanors – Valuable Tool or Intrusion on Personal Freedom [POLL]
Recently a very close vote came down in the US Supreme Court allowing the collection of DNA samples from anyone being charged with a crime.
The decision was decided upon by the pivotal vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote that the procedure was protected by the Fourth Amendment and, according to this,
“deemed reasonable because of “the need for law enforcement officers in a safe and accurate way to process and identify the persons and possession they must take into custody.”
Dissenting opinions came from justices who’s opinions are normally at odds with each other, such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.
A conviction on a disorderly persons offense could get you 6 months in jail and fine of up to $1,000. And it soon could also earn you a spot in the federal DNA database, side by side with rapists, killers and violent repeat offenders.
A bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-North Bergen would add convictions for “misdemeanors” — like shoplifting or simple assault — to the list of offenses that require biological sampling for the DNA database.
If DNA is collected at a crime scene, authorities could have a sample run through the DNA database to see if it is a match with anyone listed in the database.
“DNA testing provides valuable tool for investigating unsolved crimes and ultimately removing serious offenders from our streets,” said Sacco who sponsored the bill with Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge.
“We have a responsibility to act preemptively and collect DNA samples before the individual commits another offense or becomes a fugitive,” said Sacco of the bill, which passed the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously Thursday.
The argument for the bill is simple: If you having nothing to hide, then why not have your DNA in the database. But others would say this: why not just submit everyone’s DNA into the database?
Under the bill, DNA samples would be taken from adults convicted of disorderly persons offenses, juveniles adjudicated delinquent, and persons found not guilty by reason of insanity, Sacco spokesman Phil Swibinski said.
State Police would identify and analyze the DNA samples and DNA information would be stored in a state database and forwarded to the FBI for inclusion in the federal database.
A June 3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling lends support to the bill, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing that the “quick and painless” swabbing procedure is a search under the Fourth Amendment, and deemed reasonable because of “the need for law enforcement officers in a safe and accurate way to process and identify the persons and possession they must take into custody.”
The bill, S-436, will now go before the full Senate for consideration.
I’ve had a problem anytime you bring up the words “federal database.” For me, as I’m sure for you, the thought of it sounds Orwellian!
However, in the final analysis, the opposite holds true; which is that the collection of DNA could be a valuable tool in solving crimes that have gone unsolved for years. DNA sampling has become the fingerprinting of the future.
Do we need to do it for those convicted of having committed misdemeanors?
Truly one of the pivotal questions of our time: