Bill requiring DNA collection with a felony arrest on final step

By Lucas Lloyd
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would require all felony arrestees to submit a DNA sample is headed to the governor’s desk for his final decision.

Senate Bill 322 requires the sample to be taken by a cheek swab along with fingerprints, photographs during the arrest. The DNA will go to through a database, once the authorities have probable cause.

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, stands at the podium to address the Senate. Young has been strongly against the DNA bill and says it violates privacy rights for individuals. Photo By Lucas Lloyd, TheStatehouseFile.com

Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, represents the people of Delphi, Indiana, and he said this type of technology could find the murderer of the two young girls from his district.

“I would hope that having DNA records might be the very thing that would bring this vicious person to justice,” Hershman told the Senate before a final vote Thursday. “But also, ensure that we do not bring the wrong person to justice.”

If the person is acquitted of all felony charges, the charges are downgraded to misdemeanors, all felony charges are dropped, or no felony charges are filed within 365 days, then the DNA sample would be removed from the database.

However, it’s up to the person who was arrested to get the DNA sample removed from the database by submitting a form to the prosecutor requesting that it be removed. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to submit that order to police and get it removed.

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, argued the legislation violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Specifically, privacy of the individual.

Young said the process of the justice system that are in place today are sufficient to identifying and investigating crimes.

“It’s not like a photo or fingerprints that you can check right then and right there,” said Young.

After about 30 minutes of discussion, Senate President Pro Tempore, David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said with a busy schedule and only a week to complete the rest of the legislative business, it was time to move on with the vote during the discussion.

“The only difference in this bill from the time it left this chamber is the title of the bill,” said Long, explaining the title was wrong only because of an administrative mistake.

The bill passed out of the Senate by a 36-12 vote on Thursday. If signed into law, Indiana will become the 31st state to allow DNA samples to solve and prevent crimes.

Lucas Lloyd is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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