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Expanding DNA testing

Owen Canfield Modified: June 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm •  Published: June 7, 2013

Some Oklahoma lawmakers no doubt feel vindicated after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week.

In a 5-4 ruling stemming from a Maryland case, the court said it’s OK for police to take DNA from persons arrested for felonies. Twenty-eight states already had a similar law on the books; this ruling opens the way for the others to follow suit. Expect Oklahoma to be one of those, as similar efforts have been tried in recent years.

State law allows for testing of those convicted of violent crimes and some others. We were uncomfortable with the idea of testing men and women who had only been arrested for those crimes, not convicted.

The high court’s ruling will help law enforcement solve other crimes, particularly violent crimes. That’s important. But it also could lead to a push to allow DNA testing for every arrestee, regardless of the nature of the offense. That would be going too far.


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