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DNA evidence preservation controversy

Posted in Crime Prevention February 24th, 2009 @ 9:56 am

Minnesota law requires anyone convicted of a felony, those released from prison after serving a felony sentence, or felons whom the state accepts through an interstate compact and those charged with certain predatory felonies must submit to a DNA sample . All DNA samples collected are forward to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCAA) where it is processed and maintained under its DNA database.

However, state lawmakers in other states, such as Colorado, are considering rolling back this process. The bill would reduce the number of cases where DNA evidence would have to be preserved. The Colorado House Bill 1121 would no longer require DNA evidence from non-sexual misdemeanor cases to be preserved. Last year, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill requiring the preservation of DNA evidence in all cases where a defendant is sentenced to life in person.

If this bill were passed, this would be a huge mistake. How many cold cases would be left unsolved through DNA evidence? How many innocent people charged with a crime would be incarcerated? Is there a cost factor involved in this? With huge strides in scientific methods in solving crimes, now is not the time to cut costs and go back decades leaving innocent people in jail or not closing cold cases for the victim’s families.

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