OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Anyone arrested in Oklahoma for a felony crime and some misdemeanors would be forced to submit a DNA sample to authorities under a bill approved Thursday by a Senate committee, despite concerns from civil libertarians that the measure goes too far.
The Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved the bill by Sen. Clark Jolley, who said it was requested by a woman whose daughter’s 2004 rape and murder in Tulsa remains unsolved.
“She’s passionate about it,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “She’s hoping to bring closure and make sure that whoever murdered her daughter doesn’t murder somebody else’s child.
“My belief is that if we do this, we will get rapists and murderers off the street more rapidly than if we don’t do it.”
The bill would require anyone arrested on a felony complaint to submit a DNA sample, even if charges aren’t filed. The bill also applies to misdemeanor arrests for certain crimes, including drug possession, assault and battery and domestic abuse.
Under current law, a conviction is required before a DNA sample can be taken.
The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the measure, saying Oklahoma residents who are either never charged with a crime or acquitted could have their DNA entered into a national database.
“It is shocking that some politicians so quickly dismiss the fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma. “Bills like this have been defeated by bipartisan majorities in the past, and we urge lawmakers to again reject this attempt to build a database with the DNA of innocent Oklahomans.”