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If Colorado proposal passes, fewer criminal suspects' DNA is safe

DNA. The term probably brings to mind TV dramas wherein detectives connect crime scene evidence to a criminal suspect. Reality isn't too far from that, though the reality is that there is a real person, someone with rights, behind the label of "criminal suspect," not an obviously creepy fictional character.

In Colorado, just because someone is arrested, charged or even convicted of a crime does not mean that authorities have a right to collect DNA evidence from him. Only certain crimes give officials the right to collect DNA samples from criminal suspects: crimes of felony status. Some Colorado lawmakers want to change that.

Collected DNA evidence is utilized through a database that aims to connect samples from various incidents in order to identify criminal suspects. Lawmakers want making those connections to become easier by having the right to collect more suspects' DNA to enter into the system. Not only do they want the evidence from those arrested for felonies; they want the same evidence for those suspected of lesser, misdemeanor crimes.

Some who support the proposal compare DNA collection to the collection of a person's fingerprints. But DNA is more personal. Before deciding that it is property of the criminal justice system and a shared database, lawmakers must thoroughly contemplate the value of citizens' right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

DNA evidence is often used to try to link suspects to serious offenses such as sex crimes or other violent crimes. Our Colorado Springs criminal defense firm helps fight for those who are charged with crimes such as sexual assault, murder and more.

Source: 9News, "Bill would require DNA for misdemeanors," March 5, 2013

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