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updated: 12/17/2016 9:02 AM

Bill to require DNA collection for state felony arrests

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Indiana is proposing a bill that would allow it to join at least 30 states already authorizing analysis of DNA collected from people arrested for felonies.

The bill would allow DNA samples collected after June 30, 2017, to be uploaded to the existing database. Vanderburgh County prosecutor Nicholas Hermann said DNA is useful in investigating and prosecuting cases. He adds that the bill will help the state catch up technologically, according to the Evansville Courier and Press (http://bit.ly/2hrrgpt ).

The current draft of the proposal would increase DNA processing fees to defendants from $2 to $4, providing the state's DNA processing fund an additional $500,000 semiannually.

"It just helps make the community safer by identifying suspects more quickly," Republican state Sen. Erin Houchin said. "It also can help exonerate the innocent. This is a search for the truth."

Houchin, a sponsor of similar legislation, said Indiana already collects DNA after conviction before a defendant enters the state corrections department, and that the state has been collecting fingerprints for years.

The vast number of states enacting DNA analysis laws follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 2013 that a state law permitting DNA collection from arrested individuals does not violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Previous attempts to pass similar laws failed because of debate over the question of whether there should be a DNA removal process from the database, according to Houchin. The proposal draft said individuals could also request their DNA be expunged from the database if they're acquitted after being arrested for a felony.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com

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