Sanford vetoes DNA sampling bill

Image by flickr user DimsumDarrenImage by 20080702dna.jpg Vials of blood can be used to collect DNA. It's a touchy concept of crime fighting. In some ways it's the perfect fingerprinting, in other ways its the perfect way to plant evidence.

Governor Mark Sanford has vetoed a bill that would allow law enforcement officials to collect some suspects' DNA at the time of arrest. Sanford vetoed a similar bill last year, citing privacy concerns. The bill would only apply to those facing felony, stalking or peeping charges.

Law enforcement and many public officials have clamored for bills like this that allow more ways to find crime perpetrators, especially as DNA has proved useful in picking suspects for otherwise difficult-to-solve crimes.

Right now the state only collects DNA after a conviction, and the governor says collecting DNA before a conviction is unreasonable search and seizure. But, 13 states and the federal government already collect DNA on arrest.

The bill would allow some prisoners to request a DNA test in an attempt to prove their innocence.

The legislature will consider overriding the veto in October.

It's a difficult call, on one hand it really sounds like big brother, but in other ways it's clear how it would be useful in crime fighting.

Keep up to date on the issue on our DNA topic page.

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