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Easy sell: Expanding DNA testing no surprise

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: May 22, 2009 at 4:08 am •  Published: May 22, 2009
There wasn’t a chance Gov. Brad Henry would veto a bill to subject more criminals to DNA testing. Who could argue with a means to help police solve violent crimes such as murder and rape? The only surprise was that anyone in the House or Senate dared to vote against it.

Yet we remain uncomfortable with House Bill 1102, which the governor signed this week. The bill carried the name of Juli Busken, a University of Oklahoma student who was assaulted and killed in 1996. Her killer was serving time for another crime when he was tied to Busken’s murder by DNA taken from the crime scene.

We’re strong backers of the law compelling anyone convicted of a felony in Oklahoma to offer DNA for inclusion in a national crime database. HB 1102 requires that those convicted of various misdemeanors, and illegal immigrants arrested for anything at all, must do the same.

Among the misdemeanors in the new law are destruction of property, causing injury while driving under the influence, outraging public decency (i.e. urinating in public) and resisting arrest.

The argument could be made that if a person has nothing to hide, he shouldn’t mind submitting a DNA sample. But how far down this road will we wind up traveling?

Bob Ravitz, chief public defender in Oklahoma County, said it could be argued that DNA be taken from everyone. Then, he said, the only issue would become "at what time does it invade our privacy sufficiently that we’re going to get upset about it?” Good question.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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