New Indiana law allows DNA to be collected at booking
A new law took effect Monday in Indiana that requires DNA to be taken during the booking process in felony cases.
CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A new law took effect Monday in Indiana that requires DNA to be taken during the booking process in felony cases.
Many lawmakers, including Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull, thinks the change will improve public safety.
"We are going to catch a lot of individuals who have committed sex offenses, violent offenses, that we wouldn't have caught before," Mull said.
Sen. Erin Houchin co-sponsored the law and points to the 1994 rape of Michelle Kuiper as an example of when it could have helped prevent a crime.
"Her case was unsolved for 12 years until DNA finally identified the suspect," she said.
Houchin hopes the new DNA law will eventually lead to answers in the unsolved murder case of two Delphi girls killed in February, but she also said collecting DNA evidence could also help the person in custody.
"We also can use DNA collection laws such as this to help exonerate innocent people," she said.
But one defense attorneys said the move is unconstitutional.
"They're coming into your body and taking something," Indiana Attorney Ben Read said. "It's at the book-in process ... where a police officer has really made kind of a snap judgment of what has happened on the scene.
"It infringes on people's privacy rights a little bit more than the current law."
Despite passing overwhelmingly in both Indiana chambers, Read believes there could be a challenge down the road.
"I'm about 100 percent positive that there will be appeals," he said. "Anytime there is a new law enacted that seems to trample on the rights of the accused, it's always a big deal."
Meanwhile, there are also some avenues that could lead to expungements: if there are no charges after a year, if there's an acquittal or if the charge is reduced or downgraded to a misdemeanor.
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