Last year, in a divisive battle that caused a considerable amount of uproar, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement officers were entitled to take DNA samples from individuals who were arrested for serious crimes.
For those who were opposed to this, they will be even more upset by the next step that was recently taken by the Michigan Legislature in the form of Senate Bill 0105.
A new set of bills has recently been overwhelmingly approved by the House. The bills now allow police to collect DNA samples from those who are arrested on the suspicion of any felony charge. This would include all non-violent felony crimes, like larceny and vehicle theft.
Arrest will be reason enough to collect DNA
The state already collects DNA samples from all individuals who are convicted of a crime, and from anyone who is arrested for violence-related felonies, like murder and rape. But starting in July of next year, it is no longer required that a person be convicted, or that the crime be violent. Arrest itself will be reason enough.
There has been a great deal of debate surrounding the collection of DNA samples from arrested individuals over the years. Some claim it is a violation of 4th amendment rights. Others say that since criminals tend to be repeat offenders, it only makes sense to avoid future crimes and assist in punishing those that have already happened by testing to see what if any other crimes can be connected to an arrestee.
According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, whose duty it is to provide the Michigan Senate with an objective and nonpartisan analysis of all legislation being considered by the senate, the state currently collects an estimated 3,000 DNA samples annually. Under the new law, that number is expected to quadruple.