Californian Bankrolls Initiative On DNA Samples

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A man who lost his brother to an unknown serial killer has paid for a November ballot measure that would force all felony arrestees in California to provide a DNA sample, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Backers say the measure could clear up thousands of unsolved crimes; critics say it would give the government access to too much information on too many people. “DNA is not like a fingerprint, since getting it is more invasive and it holds information beyond mere identification,” said Tania Simoncelli of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Bruce Harrington, a Newport Beach attorney and developer, spent more than $1.3 million to qualify the initiative for the ballot. California already requires DNA samples from everyone convicted of a serious felony. The initiative would require DNA samples from everyone convicted of any felony, as well as those arrested for murder or rape. The measure requires that beginning in 2009, DNA samples would be collected from anyone arrested for a felony. The crime Harrington wants solved is the 1980 slaying of his brother and his sister-in-law. Keith Harrington, a 24-year-old medical student, and Patti, his wife of three months, were in bed when an intruder broke into their Orange County home, bound them, raped Patti and beat them to death.

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/06/12/MNGOB7598T1.DTL

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