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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    No, You Can't Have My DNA. My DNA. Not Yours

    Yet another idea that seems like a good idea at first glance, but is a terrible idea in practice.

    From Diego Olmos-Alcalde, charged a decade after the murder of Susannah Chase in Boulder, to Tim Masters, released after a decade in prison for a murder he apparently did not commit, to Friday's announcement of the apprehension of two suspects, one for a 1976 murder and another for rapes dating to 2004, examples abound of the importance of human DNA in criminal investigation.

    So it's hard to argue with Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey or dismiss his call for legislation authorizing law enforcement in Colorado to collect DNA from crime suspects when they are booked rather than waiting until after they are convicted of a felony.

    Viva the Rocky Mountain News.

    Under no circumstances should a person that's simply booked for a crime be forced to fork over their DNA.  Frankly, they aren't guilty.  If, and only IF, a person wants to give over their DNA, they can, but that is a choice.  But forced to?  No way.  This is an awful idea.  Why?

    1.  This encourages police to arrest anyone and everyone for anything.
    2.  The person is only accused, and not convicted, of a crime and is being subjected of the most private of their property being seized by government.
    3.  People who are not criminals will have their DNA on file with government agencies. 
    4.  Unanswered is where DNA records will be stored or kept, or the privacy (meaning non-sale) of the DNA records provided.

    This is an overreaction to high profile cases where DNA played a major part.  Ah, fear: the most wonderful of motivators.


    2 comments:

    Greg & Sheryl said...

    But is it really that much different from taking mugshots and fingerprints?

    Clark said...

    I think it's a huge difference. Mugshots and fingerprints are one thing. DNA is another. How will your DNA be used is one question, but the real question is: How will your DNA be MIS-used.

    That's what everyone should be afraid of.

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