Utah lawmakers advance DNA felony arrest bill

Friday , March 28, 2014 - 12:27 PM

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY —Utahlawmakers have advanced a proposal requiring police to take DNA samples from people they arrest on suspicion of felony.

The House voted 43-28 Tuesday to approve the bill from Sandy Republican Rep. Steve Eliason. He says the samples would help officials find criminals early and acquit those falsely imprisoned.

Some lawmakers criticized the measure on Tuesday, questioning if non-violent crimes warranted gathering genetic information. Others said they feared DNA from suspects would linger even after an acquittal.

A former bill provision to collect DNA on suspicion of some misdemeanors died after lawmakers said it conflicted with people's rights not to be searched unreasonably.

Suspected crimes warranting the DNA samples would include aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, sexual or child abuse and dealing marijuana.

The measure advances to the Senate.

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