OK Rep. Fred Morgan Proposes Collecting DNA of Convicted Felons

Article excerpt

State Rep. Fred Morgan has filed legislation that would require anyone convicted of a felony in Oklahoma to submit a DNA sample for inclusion in the state's database of offenders.

Morgan, R-Oklahoma City, said DNA evidence is becoming increasingly pivotal in criminal cases throughout the country, both to convict the guilty and to exonerate those wrongly convicted. However, a large sample base is needed to truly maximize the value of DNA testing to law enforcement agencies.

Morgan said House Bill 1219 could potentially quadruple the samples stored in the state's database, subsequently increasing the odds of identifying criminals. This legislation will be a major public safety benefit to Oklahomans, he said.

Oklahoma began requiring offenders convicted of violent or sexual crimes to provide DNA samples in 1996, but the technology was used only to create offender profiles. In 2001, the State Bureau of Investigation began using technology based on the FBI's Combined DNA Index System. The new database, which is in place today, enables federal, state and local crime labs to exchange and compare DNA profiles against evidence.

Erin Henry, Combined DNA Index System unit criminalist supervisor, said the database is used to link convicted offenders to other crimes and to help identify a suspect or investigative lead in cases. …

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