Perillo and McGorty support expansion of criminal DNA sample bank

State Representatives Jason Perillo (R-113) and Ben McGorty (R-122) are co sponsoring legislation this session of the Connecticut General Assembly that will require DNA be taken from a person after arraignment and finding probable cause for an expanded list of crimes.  Obtaining this DNA will help determine if someone being held for one crime may be guilty of additional crimes by a comparison of DNA evidence.

“This measure is common sense, plain and simple,” said Rep. Perillo.  “When it is reasonably clear that someone in custody not only committed the serious crime they are being held for, but there is good reason to suspect they are guilty of others, we should act to ensure all possible steps are taken to make a determination.  This measure will not only help solve open cases that are getting cold, but it will likely prevent other potential future crimes.”

“With the resources we have available today, it doesn’t make sense that we aren’t yet implementing this policy to identify and prosecute criminals,” said Rep. McGorty.  “By obtaining a DNA profile of someone being held for a serious felony, we can potentially link the individual with other crimes they may have committed, or rule out their involvement.”

Perillo and McGorty said the bill would help identify and obtain convictions of guilty individuals nationwide while providing a way to exonerate innocent individuals.

Critics of the measure say that obtaining such DNA profiles from persons at the time of arrest is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s fourth amendment prohibition against illegal search and seizures. However, Perillo and McGorty noted that in 2013 the United States Supreme Court upheld the government’s right and interest in doing so.  In Maryland v. King, the Court ruled that the taking of DNA at the time of arrest constituted a search, but that the government’s interest in identifying the individual outweighed the minimally invasive process of using a buccal swab to obtain the sample.

Other provisions of the bill require a DNA profile to be expunged if an individual is granted an absolute pardon, and creates a mechanism for an individual to request confirmation of the expungement of the DNA record.

The bill, HB 5474, An Act Concerning DNA Testing for Persons Arraigned for a Serious Felony was passed favorably out of the Judiciary Committee, and awaits action by the full House of Representatives.  This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns midnight, Wednesday, May 4th, 2016.