California debates fate of DNA samples from felony arrests

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. 

The fate of as many as 500,000 DNA samples collected from felony arrestees and stored in a California State database is at the center of the latest court battle over Proposition 47.

The law, passed by voters in November 2014, reduced certain low-level, nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors — retroactively, in many cases.

But Proposition 47 did not address what happens to the DNA — which is only collected upon felony arrest — when a conviction is downgraded to a misdemeanor after the fact.

Is the DNA expunged, or does it stay in the database?

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office is trying to get that question resolved by the California Supreme Court. Prosecutors argue that wiping out so many DNA specimens would hinder law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes and goes against the intent of voters who passed Proposition 47. The Public Defender’s Office says the collection of DNA is an invasion of someone’s privacy that should be governed by the strictest legal standards.

While the specific case being tried involves juvenile offenders, there is a potential for any decision to apply to adults as well — or at least set the stage for further litigation on the matter — and in turn affect an estimated half-million DNA specimens, prosecutors say.

Read full, original post: Prop 47 could purge DNA database

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