Ca. Proposition Would Expand Felon DNA Samples


California’s ballot proposition 69 is driven by the search for one deadly man, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Police say DNA evidence ties him to a series of slayings in California throughout the 1970s and ’80s. And two of his victims were Keith and Patti Harrington, an Orange County couple whom he bludgeoned to death in their home in August 1980. It’s been four years now since crime lab technicians were able to tell Bruce Harrington that his brother died at the hands of a serial killer. But who is that man? And why can’t police find him?

As efforts to broaden the number of crimes requiring a DNA submission to California’s DNA criminal database stalled in Sacramento, it “caused me to sit down and say, ‘What can I do for the better public good?’ ” Harrington, a successful Southern California lawyer and real estate developer, said. “And maybe, maybe, maybe there will be a resolution of my brother’s killing.” Prop 69 would cast the state’s forensic net far wider than ever before. If passed, it would allow the collection of DNA samples from all of California’s convicted felons — far more than those convicted of one of more than 30 serious felonies under current law. Beginning in 2009, the measure would also require those arrested on suspicion of a felony to submit a DNA sample as well. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s support is significant because it also marks a rare instance in which the fiscally conservative governor is backing a government expansion projected to cost the state at least $20 million.


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