Public defenders in Kansas City are advising their clients to reject plea agreements that require them to surrender their DNA, the Kansas City Star reports. The move threatens to clog Jackson County’s jail and courts.
The advice was a reaction to a new policy of county Prosecutor Mike Sanders requiring felons to surrender their DNA as part of a plea agreement. About 95 percent of the county’s 4,000 felonies each year are resolved through plea agreements. Without them, more cases would go to trial, and more defendants would be held in jail.
Sanders’ policy, which he said had attracted the attention of prosecutors elsewhere, was instituted after the state legislature failed to approve legislation that would have had the same effect.
The Star quotes a public defender as saying that the issue is “decision to be made not by prosecutors like Mike Sanders but by the legislatures and courts of this country.” The defender added: “Our jurisdiction is a guilty plea model … “We’re going in another direction, and there are going to be consequences.”