Democratic State Representative Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) is filing legislation requiring police gather DNA samples for anyone arrested on felony charges.
Bauer initially proposed the idea in House Bill 1551 last session. The bill did not advance, but lawmakers did send the legislation to a summer study committee.
Twenty-eight states have passed legislation to require the collection of a DNA sample when a felony suspect is booked. Those states then have that information entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.
During the the summer study committee hearing, Bauer referenced Chicago study that tracked the history of eight convicted felons. Bauer said an analysis of the data indicates that if DNA had been taken during the first arrest of each of those men that 53 rapes and murders would have been prevented.
Bauer mentioned that clearing innocent people wrongly convicted of crimes would be another benefit of passing this legislation. A cost-savings to taxpayers is another.
A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling determined that requiring a forensic DNA sample upon felony arrest preserves constitutional rights and is a reasonable and legitimate police booking procedure, much like fingerprinting or photographing someone who has been arrested.
The bill is being co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.