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I am a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Rhode Island.  I handle all types of criminal cases, including, DUI, domestic violence cases, drug case, sex cases just to name a view. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New DNA law allows DNA to be taken from the wrongfully accused.

Individual Freedoms Take Another Hit.

This week Governor Chafee signed a bill that requires anyone arrested for a violent felony have a DNA sample taken from them.  The old law required that DNA samples be taken from only those people that were convicted of a felony.  This new law will allow the police to take DNA from wrongfully accused people.  The logic in the law is flawed.
The idea that an individual would have to give his or her DNA after a conviction is based on the premise that those people lost certain rights when they committed the crime.  Under the new law, the police just need to arrest a person to get their DNA. The criminal case does not even have to be charged.  The police need to merely make an arrest to obtain a person's DNA.  This gives the police a unfair tool in getting people's DNA.  
The proponents of the law will argue that it may help solve crimes.   If that is the case,  why stop there? People that are convicted of lesser crimes may pose more danger than people that are wrongfully accused of a serious ones. In addition, DNA is not like photos and fingerprints, those items can be destroyed or sealed.  Rather,  DNA goes into a national data base and likely can never be taken out of that data base.  There are supposed to be provisions to have the DNA taken out the database, but it often will not happen.  If the cases is dismissed and the court orders an expungement it might come off,  but under Rhode Island law not all dismissals can be expunged.  In addition, many defendants that can have their case expunged do not know to file the paperwork. What about cases that have lessor included charges? So you are charged with a crime of rape and you are found not guilty, but you are convicted of resisting arrest.  What happens then. You can not get that case expunged. What happens to your DNA.  Furthermore, they is no way to track if the lab has taken the DNA out of the database.
People today are just to willing to give up rights! This country and this state were based on freedoms and liberty.   Every time we give up a right, we are that much closer to a police state.

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