Many States Taking DNA Samples From Arrestees


Congress and 12 states have authorized police to take DNA samples from arrestees, not just convicted felons, while at least 22 states have considered similar plans in 2008 alone, says Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign an amended bill that allows for the destruction of DNA samples if suspects are arrested but not convicted, among other concessions demanded by the state’s Black Caucus. In South Dakota, Gov. Mike Rounds this month signed a bill making the state the 12th to require the collection of DNA samples from arrestees. The others are Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. In Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) this month signed a bill that will require DNA samples to be taken from all registered sex offenders in the state – not only the felons – after a 12-year-old girl was abducted and killed last summer. The state does not collect DNA samples from other arrestees.

Other states, including Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New York, and Ohio, this year have considered or are considering legislation that would require the collection of DNA from those convicted of misdemeanors and other lesser crimes. Juveniles and illegal immigrants also are being targeted for DNA samples under legislation in a handful of states, according to a state-by-state listing at At the federal level, the Department of Justice is finalizing rules approved by Congress in 2005 that will require anyone arrested by federal authorities to provide a DNA sample, which will be converted into an electronic “profile” and stored in a vast computer database at the FBI crime laboratory in Quantico, Va. The FBI database already contains at least 104,000 arrestee profiles that have been uploaded from four participating states – California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Virginia.


Comments are closed.