Who Sees Your DNA?

Presumption of innocence. It’s the basis for many trials in this country and sometimes the only thing between a defendant and a conviction.

When that is threatened, what do we do?

Unfortunately, this is becoming the case in some states. Colorado, for example, collects DNA samples of anyone that is arrested for a felony even if there is no indictment. Louisiana uses DNA dragnets.  This process collects the DNA of anyone, suspect or not, that lives or works near a crime scene. What this mass collection of DNA is doing is over-representing minorities and under-representing everyone else.

In any future cases, DNA is compared to the database that has been building over the years which ultimately creates a loop in which police officers will pursue crimes committed by those in the database than those that are not. Then there are what “familial DNA searches” in which a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) collects DNA from a crime scene and runs it against a DNA database to search for partial matches.

This means that anyone who has had their DNA collected before can be targeted by LEOs for information about a close or distant relative that has committed a crime. This is where the presumption of innocence is being infringed upon.  Everyone is innocent until proven guilty…at least until now.

With the use of DNA becoming widespread, if someone is arrested or detained because they share some alleles with a suspect or are a suspect themselves then where has this presumption gone? Certainly LEOs will no longer think this person is innocent because of this. Under what circumstances are these methods being employed?

How far is too far when it comes to the code that describes you in your entirety?

This entry was posted in Criminal Law, General Legal Interest and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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