Federal and state governments want to add millions of DNA profiles to anticrime databases by including genetic information about people who are charged but not convicted of crimes, reports USA Today. The trend is being driven by families of victims of unsolved crimes; privacy advocates say searching profiles of persons not yet convicted is unfair. Arrestee-testing laws permit a person’s DNA to be taken after he or she is charged with a felony. If a defendant is acquitted or the charges are dropped, the profile is expunged from the database and the sample is destroyed. As long as the profile is in the database, it can be matched to other crimes.
New Mexico and Kansas this year enacted laws that require DNA testing for all people arrested for alleged felonies, and similar measures are under consideration in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee. The federal government and five states – California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia – already permit DNA testing of arrestees. The measures represent an aggressive effort to expand the nation’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a network of state and federal computer indexes that matches DNA found at crime scenes to genetic profiles of known or suspected criminals.