Thursday, February 14, 2008
By BRIAN LYMAN
MONTGOMERY -- The state is trying to expand its DNA database and wants offenders to make a contribution.
The House Government Appropriations committee Wednesday approved a bill that would expand the state's DNA database to include those arrested for felony charges and assess an additional $10 fee levied on municipal, district and criminal court proceedings to help pay for it.
The fee would also apply to speeding tickets......
Alabama currently collects samples from those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. There are now 155,000 samples in the state's database. The added fee would bring in an estimated $8 million, all targeted for the program.
The bill allows the use of "reasonable force" to obtain samples from those who refuse to give them.
This is ridiculus. No one who HAS NOT BEEN CONVICTED of a crime should be forced to give up a sample of their DNA to the state. NO ONE. If the state suspects someone of a crime like rape or murder where DNA would either prove guilt or exonorate a suspect then there are other ways to obtain a sample that will not infringe on the privacy rights of EVERYONE else in the state.
Cops can stake out the suspects home and collect the trash, they can follow the suspect and if he/she smokes they can try and obtain a cigarette butt discarded by the suspect, they can offer a suspect a drink during interrogation and get DNA from the cup or can, or, if the suspect is in jail, then DNA can be obtained from the dishes and plastic flat-wear used to feed him/her. There is no need for a blanket law that will result in DNA being collected and stored for every citizen of this state.
The story does say that folks stopped for speeding or other traffic violations will not be forced to give up a sample. I don't trust that though. How long will it be before they go back and change that section? How long until they whoop out one of those anecdotal cases where so-and-so got a speeding ticket and later it was learned that they were wanted for another crime? The state and the cops will use something like that to push for every motorist stopped for any reason to give a DNA sample. I tell ya....if they come after mine then they better be ready to use more than 'reasonable force' because I'll fight like hell.
Another thing DNA could be used for is the REAL ID cards. The government plans to have all of the private and important details of your life on the damn thing....so why not your DNA makeup too?
The article ends with this...
Those arrested for felonies but later released or acquitted may petition the courts to expunge the DNA samples.
Yeah right! Why in the hell should an innocent person have to petition the courts to expunge the DNA record? Why does the onerous burden fall to the innocent? If I haven't done anything wrong and, in fact, the State was WRONG then why is it my responsibility to make the state give up information it had NO BUSINESS obtaining in the first place? And how would you really ever be sure that they did, in fact, clear your name and DNA record out of the database? Will they allow you to manually search it? How do we know they don't have a secret file somwhere with all of the information and DNA of innocent people stored away....you know....just in case?