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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

State’s Evidence

posted by on February 26 at 16:45 PM

My spider senses tingled a little a bit last week when I saw that the House had passed this bill to expand the DNA-collecting powers of the state.

No longer are DNA collections limited to felons; if this bill is passed, the state will be able to make people surrender DNA samples for crimes like prostitution.

However, when I originally reported on this bill—it’s now in the Senate—I failed to highlight some other misdemeanors that give the state the right to your code. These are the ones that the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are antsy about: animal cruelty in the second degree; assault in the fourth degree; and violation of a court order.

Amy Muth, who co-chairs the defense lawyers’ legislative lobbying group, explains that assault in the fourth degree is the most common crime committed in the state and covers just about any fit of anger—throwing a soda pop at someone is an example of a fourth degree assault she once litigated.

The cost, she says, of getting DNA samples on every fourth degree assault charge would be enormous. (The fiscal note I saw says it would cost about $1.1 million per budget cycle.)

Animal cruelty in the second degree is negligence—like not feeding your pet or failing to provide safe shelter. And violating any court order? Well, that could cover just about anything.

There’s a Senate hearing on the bill this Thursday at 8am.

Seattle-area Reps. who co-sponsored the legislation are Rep. Phyllis Kenney (D-46, North Seattle) and Rep. Zach Hudgins (D-11, South Seattle). No Seattle-area senators have signed on.

RSS icon Comments


This would make England proud.

Posted by laterite | February 26, 2008 4:57 PM

This would make Germany proud.

The one that was around from 1933 to 1945 that is.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 26, 2008 5:53 PM

Under current law, when someone is convicted of a felony, they are required to be fingerprinted and to provide a DNA sample. As I said in my comment to the last post on this, Assault 4 is definitely the farest-reaching offense of this bill. It seems bizarre that people convicted of these misdemeanors would be required to provide a DNA sample, but not be fingerprinted (obviously if they're booked, they would have been printed).

Posted by Gidge | February 26, 2008 6:14 PM

How many men's DNA could they collect from the mouth of one prostitute?

Posted by Rain Monkey | February 27, 2008 8:49 AM

I can see it now. Once passed, collection would begin at "charged with a crime" - not "convicted."

Posted by Anna Montana | February 27, 2008 1:27 PM

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