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Authorities to begin gathering DNA upon arrest

Posted January 31, 2011

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— Law enforcement offices across North Carolina on Tuesday will begin gathering DNA samples from people charged with specific violent felonies and misdemeanors.

Previously, only people convicted of felonies were required to provide a DNA sample, which authorities then placed in a state database for comparing with evidence from unsolved crimes. State lawmakers last year expanded the database to allow samples to be taken from some people upon arrest.

“DNA is rock-solid evidence that the forensic lab uses daily to pinpoint suspects and clear the wrongly accused,” Attorney General Roy Cooper, who lobbied for the expanded database, said in a statement. “Taking DNA samples from arrestees will help prevent crimes, clear unsolved cases, and bring justice to victims.”

The state database, which is linked to a national database managed by the FBI, contains more than 200,000 profiles and has helped solve more than 1,900 cases since its inception, officials said. The State Bureau of Investigation had more hits to the database in 2010 than in the first 10 years of the DNA program combined.

Cooper predicted that including DNA from those arrested would help solve even more murders, rapes and other crimes, up to 100 cold cases the first year.

Forensic scientists from the state crime lab have conducted 15 training sessions across the state through the North Carolina Justice Academy to help law enforcement agencies prepare to implement the new law.

If charges are dropped or a defendant is acquitted, he or she can ask that a DNA sample be removed from the database.

56 Comments

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  • COPs eye Feb 1, 2011

    I agree with this for felonies but not midemeanors....it just takes us off streets longer to process people through the system. besides the SBI has already proven they are not trustworthy and take to long to process anything...more invasion into our liberties.

  • jscletsplay1002002 Feb 1, 2011

    you can be arrested for anything, being arrested doesnt mean you are guilty of said thing you were arrested for.
    A friend of mine was arrested for telling an officer "SO", of course the magistrate threw it out, but still proof of overzealous officers.
    Heard of false arrest???
    Too much power in hands that shouldnt have it.

  • babbleon Feb 1, 2011

    But just being arrested is NOT the same as being innocent.

    I thought you could get DNA with a warrant. Why do we need to change that? Being able to take it from ANY arrestees is putting too much power into the hands of police - there needs to be the judicial oversight.

  • RM24 Feb 1, 2011

    What is striking? 21 votes agaist the bill ... all from liberals (Democrats). So who is eroding your constitutional rights? Republicans. Now you know the truth.

    HOWEVER: The reasoning behind this is quite simple. Of course the Liberals are against it. They are all about criminals rights. Remember you do have to be arrested before they collect any DNA

  • Shadow666 Feb 1, 2011

    “Taking DNA samples from arrestees will help prevent crimes, clear unsolved cases, and bring justice to victims.”

    It will also take us one step closer to a total police state. George Orwell would be proud.

  • ecreek Feb 1, 2011

    Oh no! Next thing you know, they'll want to get your fingerprints and take your picture when you're arrested too... That would be WAY too far.

  • Road-wearier Feb 1, 2011

    "Another constitutional right out the window... Thanks liberals. " - except that it was a bill written and sponsored by Republicans.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. -- H.L. Mencken

  • mad_dash Feb 1, 2011

    Im all for it.

  • GravyPig Feb 1, 2011

    YKM, we all leave DNA everywhere we go. That loose hair that blew off in the breeze? That's probably got some of your DNA on it. That soda can that you have been drinking from today? It's got your DNA on it and I'll bet you didn't sterilize it before you threw it in the recycle bin or trash can.

    So when you can stop leaving all of your DNA all over the place, then maybe you can call it private property.

  • Sarge Feb 1, 2011

    for misdemeanors!!! come on they're gonna be overwhelmed with samples. This is just ridiculous.

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