State News

Bill on pre-conviction DNA samples advances

Posted July 6, 2010
Updated July 7, 2010

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— North Carolina lawmakers are inching closer to a law allowing investigators to take DNA samples from suspects before any criminal conviction.

The House on Tuesday voted 92-23 to tentatively approve requiring DNA collection from people when they are arrested for serious crimes.

Opponents worry collecting DNA before a conviction tramples on civil liberties, but supporters say collecting DNA and comparing the results to blood or other biological evidence collected from crime scenes could prevent new crimes by catching repeat offenders.

Backers also argue DNA evidence has freed hundreds of innocent people nationwide.

A final House vote could come Wednesday. The measure then would need approval by the Senate and Gov. Bev Perdue.

North Carolina already has a law that requires convicted felons to submit DNA samples. Since it went into effect in 2003, the state's DNA database has grown from 18,000 samples to more than 190,000, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has said, and it has solved more than 1,400 crimes.

In the first year the new law would be in place, Cooper estimates that the state DNA database could be expanded by a projected 45,000 samples and solve an estimated 100 cases.


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  • Gork Jul 7, 2010

    itsmyopinion - flash ahead 20 years. What if some faction of the government decides they can identify a predisposition to commit crime through examination of your DNA? What if you've committed no crimes, but the Office of Crime Prevention decides they should take preemptive action to keep you from committing crimes? Sound far fetched? Listen to the right wing rhetoric in this country today and think about it...

  • itsmyownopinion Jul 7, 2010

    If you've not committed a crime, your DNA won't match any crime on record. So what is your real fear if you're innocent, afraid you might find out who's yo daddy and it won't be the man you thought it was? TIC

  • Gork Jul 7, 2010

    Carry your papers in case someone wants to check them and have your DNA on file in case someone wants to browse through those records - big brother has been dispersed to the state level, but it's still big brother. Where are all you folks against Obama because of gun control and other issues on this? You should be up in arms about this, although this isn't a racial thing...

  • GoGreen Jul 7, 2010

    lilybell, Americans long ago sold their liberty for the sake of convenience.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 7, 2010

    whatelseisnew: "We have seen people recently released from prison and given money because they were WRONGLY convicted."

    Yes. BUT... they were convicted prior to the DNA capabilities we have had the last decade or more. I don't expect to see many, if any, released if they were convicted during that time. These innocence committees will eventually go away. They won't have a leg to stand on in these DNA cases. All they have are prisoners that were convicted decades ago, prior to DNA.

  • rixida Jul 7, 2010

    If you are innocent, why worry? If your worried, you must have something to hide.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 7, 2010

    "I'm 100% behind this. If you're not, you are worried about what you've done, or what you may do in the future. I have NO worries. Its nice to have a clear conscience"

    And it is reasoning like this that leads to your continuous loss of personal freedom. What is next? Certainly if you have a clear conscience then you would want the police to randomly stop people and obtain DNA from you to make sure you are not a criminal. Perhaps they should randomly search your home and your car without probable cause. We have seen people recently released from prison and given money because they were WRONGLY convicted. How many others are arrested and not convicted and they will be subjected to unreasonable search and seizure by the fascists that are in control of the State legislature.

  • Raleigh Boys Jul 7, 2010

    DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT - You are blind to what is happening here. This is one more step to track every American, create a national database of DNA, to be used for purposes not disclosed, and will eventually be stolen. Dont think it will get hacked or ripped off? Go off and google "laptop stolen DHHS" and learn what happens.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 7, 2010

    I'm 100% behind this. If you're not, you are worried about what you've done, or what you may do in the future. I have NO worries. Its nice to have a clear conscience.

  • chemman Jul 7, 2010

    "I wouldn't worry about someone hacking the DNA database, there has been one for a good while now, and that hasn't happened has it? I don't believe I've even heard of that happening ANYWHERE."~I don't know, has it happened? How would the general public know? Do you think the governement is going to step up and tell everyone that their DNA has potentially been exposed to hackers? Does the governement have to follow disclosure laws similar to credit card breaches when they are hacked? Do they even monitor the database to see if they have been hacked? By your logic, just because YOU'VE never heard of it happening then it must not have happened. Using your logic, cars have been around a good while and I have never been in an accident, so it is safe for me to assume I will never be in one in the the future~I guess I can drive however I want and not worry about the consequences