State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that the Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation, Senate bill 5848, that would require the collection of DNA samples from everyone convicted of a crime, as well as other provisions related to such collection.
"DNA technology is a valuable tool for both law enforcement and criminal defendants. This measure will assist in more persons who are guilty of crimes being identified, prosecuted, and convicted," stated Senator Bonacic. "In addition, defendants facing trial, and those wrongfully convicted, will have greater access to DNA testing for purposes of exoneration."
Senator Bonacic said that this measure further increases the impact of the DNA database by extending the statute of limitations for DNA cases. DNA evidence is considered the most effective technique for identifying the perpetrator of a crime. A DNA sample found at a crime seen remains accurate, regardless of how much time passes.
The main provisions of the bill include:
Expanding the application of DNA collection to cover all convictions,
Specifying the public officers responsible for collecting DNA samples from defendants
to ensure that every person convicted of a crime has their DNA collected and stored,
Developing guidelines for the collection and preservation of DNA samples to establish
effective and consistent practices,
Enhancing the rights of criminal defendants by allowing them to apply for DNA testing
before their trial begins and also in cases where they have previously pleaded guilty.
"This bill is an important utilization of state-of-the-art and extremely accurate technology as a law enforcement tool and a tool to protect persons wrongfully convicted. The benefits are well documented. I was pleased to support this important measure," concluded Senator Bonacic.