Government to Collect DNA Samples From All Federal Arrestees

The U.S. government will begin collecting DNA samples from every person arrested under federal laws, a Department of Justice spokesman said Wednesday. Federal agencies are authorized to collect DNA samples under a 2006 amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, but previously had only collected DNA from people actually convicted of federal crimes. About 1.2 million additional people could be added to the FBI's Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) every year under the expansion, although people who are not convicted can request the destruction of their DNA samples. Supporters of the new measures say the expanded database will help prevent crime, but civil rights groups have expressed privacy concerns. The law will soon be published in the Federal Register and will then be subject to a 30-day comment period. AP has more.

Thirteen states have implemented policies similar to the new federal policy. In November 2007, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that all convicted federal felons must provide DNA samples to a federal database available to police departments throughout the country. In 2005, the Third Circuit ruled that a convicted bank robber had to submit DNA samples to CODIS. A New Jersey state appeals court upheld a comparable state law in 2005.

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