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NC attorney general says new DNA law is seeing results

Posted August 8, 2012

— Gathering DNA samples upon arrest is saving lives, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says.

"DNA from arrestees pinpoints suspects more quickly, gets predators off the streets sooner and clears suspects who have been wrongly accused,” Cooper told lawmakers in Chicago Wednesday at a gathering hosted by the advocacy group DNA Saves.

The nonprofit pushes for states to pass laws like one that went into effect last year in North Carolina that requires people arrested for specific violent felonies and misdemeanors to submit to DNA collection by cheek swab.

Twenty-five other states have now passed such laws.

Under North Carolina's law, which went into effect Feb. 1, 2011, DNA samples from arrestees are analyzed and uploaded to state and national databases to run against DNA collected from unsolved crimes.

If a person isn't convicted or the case is dismissed, the arrestee's sample is removed from the database.

About 43 DNA profiles from arrestees have been used to help solve cases and to also clear suspects.

Cooper, who pushed for the law, told Wednesday's crowd that passing the law isn't enough and that states must also invest in the resources and staff to allow for testing to continue.

"Just passing a law without resources for implementation is only half the job," he said. "Getting those samples into the database quickly and accurately, then tracking the hits and arresting a suspect is what gets results."

North Carolina's DNA database contains nearly 225,000 profiles and has helped solve more than 2,100 cases since it was created in 1994.


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  • Gnathostomata Aug 9, 2012

    Personally, if I were the victim of a crime, which I hope I never am 'cause I will defend home and hearth, but I digress; that is another story. If I am a victim, I would hope every means available were at the disposal of investigators. Let's err on the side of the victim for a change. They can be sued if they retain DNA from a dimissed case, so they probably will destroy it rather than store it.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 9, 2012

    "I've never been randomly arrested. Maybe it's just me though." - Pennywise the Clown

    It doesn't have to be random. When I was a college student, my roommates and I were subleasing an upstairs apartment in a house from this couple. Well, the couple decides to move, so we have to leave too because we couldn't afford to rent the entire house. The landlord, in an attempt to extort money out of us because the couple left the state, made up false claims that we stole all kind of furniture out of the house (the house was unfurnished, there was no furniture). My roommates and I were arrested on felony larceny. DA dropped the charges once he saw through the ruse of landlord (and he had some choice words for the him).

    Take off your blinders and see the real world beyond your narrow path of perception.

  • working for deadbeats Aug 9, 2012

    I've never been randomly arrested. Maybe it's just me though.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 9, 2012

    "Don't commit any felonies and you'll have nothing to worry about." -
    Pennywise the Clown

    They are talking about people ARRESTED, not CONVICTED. You don't have to break any laws to be arrested.

  • mac240 Aug 9, 2012

    Why go through all the trouble...NC policy is Catch and Release!

  • working for deadbeats Aug 9, 2012

    Shadow666, Don't commit any felonies and you'll have nothing to worry about.

  • LocalYokel Aug 9, 2012

    What king of results have been seen by the aggressive driving law?

  • Gnathostomata Aug 9, 2012

    DNA doesn't lie *IF* it is taken correctly, stored correctly, and handled correctly. There is little difference between taking DNA by cheek swab and taking fingerprints. This is another tool in the forensics kit. Now when they start insisting on taking records of everyone and storing them, worry. When insurance companies use the information to write policies, worry. When doctors manipulate the strands to produce desirable babies, worry. DNA can be used to trace parentage, perpetrators, and lineage. No two are alike; wait, that isn't true...identical twins share the same DNA structure. If you are an identical twin, do not let your sibling set you up!

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 9, 2012

    "To take dna from someone that had not been convicted yet is wrong." -

    Why do you consider it wrong? How is it different than fingerprints? I see a lot of benefits for having such a database.

    However, my biggest concern is corruption. It seems that the DA's job is to convict someone of a crime, regardless of guilt. I'd worry about people being framed for crimes they did not commit.

  • Shadow666 Aug 9, 2012

    If they want my DNA, they better get a warrant first.