NC DNA Bill: Collection before conviction

By William R. Toler

With a few strokes of a pen, Gov. Bev Perdue signed away the Fourth Amendment rights of anyone charged with a violent crime.

Not convicted, mind you, but charged. So much for presumption of innocence.

At a special bill-signing ceremony on Greenville, the governor inked her approval of the DNA Database Act, which gives deputies from across the state the authority to take cheek swabs from anyone charged with a violent felony or misdemeanor sex crime, according to the Gaston Gazette.

The bill, although a bi-partisan effort, didn’t pass smoothly. However, it did have the support of Attorney General Roy Cooper as well as law enforcement, district attorneys and victim advocates.

Eventually it made through, much to the dismay of those concerned about the civil rights violations the bill, and others like it exhibits. The I.R.s Corey Friedman was one of the few journalists to mention this aspect in his article for the Gazette. Friedman writes that Fourth Amendment groups opposed the bill because, “they believe collecting DNA from arrestees undermines the presumption of innocence and amounts to a warrantless search.”

Originally, the bill called for anyone convicted of a felony, including white-collar crimes, to be swabbed.

Most outlets reported the signing as a bit of a puff-piece, following the success of DNA in the case of murdered state school board member Kathy Taft earlier this year.

While I agree that DNA testing has led to the arrest of criminals and the exoneration of innocent people, I disagree with the collection before conviction.

But hey, if you’re innocent, what do you have to worry about?

The state having your DNA for no good reason. Open your mind and think about the implications of that.



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0 Responses to NC DNA Bill: Collection before conviction

  1. joanna

    if convicted of a violent crime, sure, i have no problem with that. but wait until the guilty verdict before you start doing crap like that.

  2. CodyAnne

    Or at least get a darn warrant!

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  4. goodtimepolitics

    I do have a little concern about the DNA law but think the benefits out weigh it.


    A DNA sample for a felon. Good, after they are convicted. But, this law is, as we say “The camels nose under the tent flap”. Next it will be sample for any crime, then get a traffic ticket, gave a sample, pay the fine and you are on the list. This happened in England. Now the Gestapo can take a DNA just for the hell of it. They take you to a station for a little chat, or stop you on the street and they force you to give a sample or you spend time in prison.
    The gov. tells us that this is a free country???

  6. Andrew King

    Another issue to entertain…felons after conviction maybe, but how about being compelled to submit to DNA database. read: “We want your DNA on file. You can provide it willingly or we will have to charge you with a felony. Then this will appear on your record even when we drop the charges.”

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  8. adam m. carlson

    many kudos and both thumbs up to you sir for tackling this contraversial issue! I wanted this one bad and all kinds of issues with the constitutionallity of it as well as devil’s advocate arguments to contrast with……………. but just couldn’t do it without turning it into way too long of a tyraid! thanks for writing and featuring it!

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