Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michigan House: Give the police more DNA

Ever seen someone booked into jail?

The officers in charge take a lot of stuff.

They take the arrested individual's picture and fingerprints, for obvious reasons.

They take personal belongings, i.e., wallet, purse, watch and other jewelry, cell phone and such because all of this, if left with the suspect, could cause many problems for both jailers and inmates alike.

They take shoelaces and belts because these could become weapons or implements of self-destruction.

And, under House Bill 4092, which passed yesterday on a 104-4 vote, they could take a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a violent crime, according to an Associated Press report.

Supporters say this is just the thing to solve cold cases, stop crimes by catching repeat offenders earlier and absolve the innocent. Others wonder about things like privacy and the presumption of innocence.

The bill heads to the Michigan Senate, which typically loves this sort of thing.

All of this comes amid a report in The Lansing State Journal that the state police crime labs can't keep up with DNA test requests for live-wire prosecutions.

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