By Scott Tibbs, February 16, 2009
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Senate Bills 237 and 24 - moving toward a police state?
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2009 07:42:28 -0500
From: Scott Tibbs <email@example.com>
To: H60@IN.gov, H61@IN.gov, H65@IN.gov, S44@IN.gov, S40@IN.gov
Representatives Welch, Pierce and Koch, and Senators Steele and Simpson,
I am writing to express my concern about and opposition to two pieces of legislation currently before the Indiana State Senate. Senate Bill 237 would require "all persons arrested after June 30, 2009, to submit a DNA sample." Senate Bill 24 would require "all persons arrested for a felony after June 30, 2009, to submit a DNA sample."
I have deep concerns about the government collecting and maintaining a DNA database for people arrested for a crime. If SB 237 and SB 24 only dealt with people convicted of a crime, it would be enough of a concern, though I can see the usefulness of keeping this kind of data on some criminals, especially convicted sex offenders. This would be a worthwhile discussion if that were the case, though there would still be concerns. But why should someone arrested for a crime that he/she may or may not have committed be required to submit a DNA sample?
SB 24 "provides for the expungement of a DNA sample" if the person arrested is acquitted, if the conviction is reversed, or if the case is dismissed. So why not require a DNA sample upon conviction of a crime instead? Why should everyone arrested for a felony be subject to DNA profiling when the data will only be kept on those convicted? In these lean economic times, why should government be spending money to collect and then dispose of DNA samples from people who are arrested but not convicted?
DNA evidence can be very useful for the criminal justice system, leading to the conviction of those responsible for crimes but also leading to the exoneration of people who have committed no crime. My concern is that legislation like this moves Indiana a little bit closer to being a police state, something that is anathema to a system of government founded on individual liberty and limitations on government power. I urge you to vote "no" on SB 237 and SB 24, and to do whatever you can to prevent them from becoming law.