Just to show you how skewed the priorities of legislators are, let us compare two bills side by side.
One is clearly needed, the other could be a significant violation of due process. (Yes, I do know that some states have held such DNA collection to not be a violation of the 4th. I disagree with them.)
As EyeID points out, the bill, while missing some legs, would have been a significant step in the right process. Alas, it was not to be. However, the esteemed legislators have deemed it worthy to collect DNA samples from people arrested of crimes. The argument behind this piece of legislation is that collection of DNA at the time of arrest would permit law enforcement to solve more crimes…because, you know, if you’re arrested, then you’ve probably committed a crime in the past.
Another rationale put forth by the State [pdf]- and I do love this – is that collection of DNA at the time of arrest would not only serve to solve unsolved crimes, but also prevent wrongful convictions.
The irony here, lest it be lost on you, is that the very same State opposed [pdf] the eyewitness ID reform bill, when DNA exonerations have shown that in 75% of wrongful conviction cases faulty IDs have been the culprit. Apparently, in eyewitness ID reform, there is a “pilot program” and the “jury is still out” on whether sequential or simultaneous lineups are better. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, no one knows how to use Google. There is some heavy citing of the Mecklenburg Report, which permits law enforcement to continually bury its head in the sand. The State’s testimony then quotes Gary Wells out of context (I’ve read about this being done in other states too) and ignores his response to this misquoting (I’m going on memory here – I’m sure the guys at EyeID know what I’m talking about – or if I’m imagining this whole thing, I’ll take it down).
On a positive note, the committee did pass the probation reform bill, which I discussed previously.
All the bills reported out of committee by last night’s deadline are here. For example, here‘s a bill “encouraging” bar owners to install breath alcohol testing devices. Here‘s a bill making it illegal to hang on a noose on public property, or private property without the consent of the owner.