Arrestees Should Not Have Their DNA Taken

News Release: 
Monday, December 7, 2009

With the ACLU-WA vocally opposed, a measure that would have required DNA testing for arrestees failed to pass the Washington Legislature.

A person's DNA is the blueprint of one's identity, and government collection of DNA should be strictly limited. At present, persons convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors in Washington are required to provide a DNA sample, which goes into a state database. But a proposed bill (HB 1382) would have expanded DNA collection to include people who are merely arrested for these offenses, regardless of whether they are ever charged or convicted.

This bill ignores the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and allows an unreasonable search and seizure of a person's most personal information. A person's genetic information should not be collected and stored without the government having proven the person has committed a crime. The ACLU also opposed another bill (SB 5026) that failed to pass which would force a person who admits to a misdemeanor charge to submit a DNA sample even if the original charge was a felony or gross misdemeanor.