MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 28, 2013

Legislators should drop DNA idea

— Forcing individuals to give up DNA samples upon arrest in Oklahoma is such an affront to citizens’ rights that state legislators should drop the proposed idea immediately.

A state Senate committee passed a bill that would require anyone arrested for a felony or certain misdemeanors to submit a DNA sample.

The DNA would be used to check if the suspect could be connected to other crimes.

At first glance, it might appear this proposed law would be tough on crime.

At first glance, it might appear that any innocent person should not be afraid of giving up their DNA.

But there is a reason why the Fourth Amendment exists — to prevent unlawful search and seizure.

The framers of the Constitution knew that a free society depends on the fairness of its judicial system.

People are not required to incriminate themselves.

Law enforcement must prove they have probable cause to search you and seize evidence that could be used against you in a court of law.

Those premises are so important to a fair due process that they should not be changed.

A suspect must be convicted before he or she can be compelled to give up a DNA sample.

Either that, or a judge must agree there is probable cause to sign a warrant to force a suspect to give up a sample.

The proposed law would allow law enforcement to get the DNA sample only if you are arrested — not charged, not convicted — just arrested.

That idea obliterates your constitutional rights.

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