Ky. Senate Bill would allow for DNA collection upon felony arrest
A new bill in Frankfort could help prevent violent crime and close unsolved cases.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new bill in Frankfort could help prevent violent crime and close unsolved cases.
Right now in Kentucky, besides at crime scenes, DNA is only collected and added to a database when someone is convicted of a felony.
"I think the biggest reason that I'm an advocate for this legislation is that I think it can prevent future crimes," said State Senator Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville), who co-sponsored the bill.
The legislation allows law enforcement agencies in Kentucky to collect DNA from anyone arrested for a felony even before a conviction – therefore connecting suspects to their past crimes.
"Murderers and rapists and violent offenders are taken off the street before they can continue offending in those areas," said Raque Adams.
Michelle Kuiper was raped in Louisville back in 1994 – pulled off her porch and sexually assaulted.
"It wouldn't have saved me but it would've saved the other two girls and those are the only two girls they came forward," said Kuiper.
Eleven years after that sexual assault, Kuiper learned her case was connected to two others through DNA.
She says, had this legislation been a law then, other victims could potentially have been saved.
"He would've matched my rape kit when he was caught for burglary," said Kuiper of her rapist convicted in 2011.
Similar legislation to SB150, has already passed in more than a dozen states, including Ohio and Tennessee. The Supreme Court has already ruled that it’s constitutional.
The Kentucky State Crime lab in Frankfort enters DNA into a national database every day.
The FBI searches that information twice a week for a potential hit, which is why KSP supports the new legislation.
"This is a tool that can be used in investigations, it can help with prosecutions, it can help with acquittal. There's all kinds of information and power that the DNA has," said KSP lab director Laura Sudkamp.
Since this bill is modeled after federal legislation, Kentucky would get federal funding if it passes. That money could then be used to help with the increase in cases.
Kuiper says her ultimate goal in supporting the bill is the hope that it would help protect future victims protected.
"For me this is just another tool that we can catch the right perpetrator and exonerate the innocent," said Kuiper.
There is a provision in the bill saying if a person is not convicted, or their charges are dismissed, the DNA would be destroyed.
Senator Adams says if voted into law, it could take effect later this year.
California already has a similar DNA collection.
The attorney general’s office there says the samples are analyzed and uploaded into a DNA Data Bank. Right now, the database has about 2.45 million profiles. The Data Bank program processes approximately 10,000 known offender samples/month with nearly 600 hits per month.
This story has been updated with information about a similar law enacted in California.
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