Pols: Expand Dna Program

To Include More Violent Felons

Sen. Charles E. Schumer that announced his legislation to provide state law enforcement agencies with incentives to require mandatory DNA fingerprinting for anyone who was arrested for a violent crime was included in the must pass “Justice For All Act.”

The act is the main vehicle for funding federal programs that help states with DNA and other forensic evidence, and is set to pass this summer. The law would help states cover the cost of this technology.

Currently, the federal government and 23 states use DNA to identify persons arrested for violent crimes; New York, however, is not one of those states. The legislation will provide financial incentives for states to utilize more sophisticated crime fighting tools to bring to justice killers and violent offenders who, though apprehended, may go undetected for earlier crimes.

“DNA testing has proven to be accurate and effective, and giving police officers, detectives and investigators access to vast resources will help put violent offenders behind bars and off the street,” said Schumer. “By spreading this technology to states across the country, we can make the streets of our cities safer for our families, and dramatically reduce the cost of fighting crime. Getting our legislation into the Justice For All Act is a tremendously important step towards ‘Katie’s Law’ getting on the books.”

“Katie’s Law,” the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act is named after Katie Sepich, a young woman from New Mexico was raped and murdered by a man who was caught for another crime just three months after her murder, but was let go by authorities who did not have any evidence of a connection.

Had DNA been obtained from the suspect, he would have been immediately connected to Sepich’s murder, instead, we was released and not brought back into police custody for another three years.

The legislation was introduced last Congress by Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall of New Mexico, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Charles Schumer and has bipartisan support.

The bill would incentivize states to meet minimum standards for arrestee DNA collection. The minimum standard asks states to collect DNA samples from those arrested for, indicted for, or charged with certain violent felonies and compare these samples with pre-existing records in the national DNA database.

States that comply with this minimum standard or implement a stricter enhanced standard will be eligible for additional federal assistance equivalent to the first year costs associated with the improved collection process.

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