A bill before the Rhode Island General Assembly would give law enforcement sweeping new powers to collect DNA from people placed under arrest. The legislature should refine this measure, which both overreaches and provides insufficient safeguards for the innocent.
The proposed measure, recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee, empowers police officers to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for a violent crime. Eligible offenses range from murder to assault, robbery and larceny. The samples may be collected even if a person is never formally charged, a dangerous provision that could tempt the police to indulge in pretext arrests. Adding insult to injury, those who are not charged would have to formally request that their samples be expunged from the state’s database.
Read the full, original story: Over-sampling DNA in Rhode Island