An expansion of Missouri’s criminal DNA program that has solved hundreds of cold cases might have been talked to death in the state Senate. The five-year old law requiring DNA samples from any person convicted of a serious crime has provided links to almost 19-hundred unsolved crimes committed by those giving the samples. The proposed expansion of the program requires samples from anyone ARRESTED for serious burglaries or felonies.
Senate sponsor Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit says it’s just another technological step in solving crimes and has been upheld by the courts as being no different constitutionally from the taking of fingerprints and photographs. But Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis says that’s a naive attitude. "DNA is just a gold mine of information about people," she says, "Fingerprinting is nothing compared to DNA."
Bray and fellow Senator Rita Days of St.Louis could not be convinced the DNA samples would not be mis-used although the proposed law would require destruction of that evidence if no charge is filed. Their continued questioning of Bartle has run out the debate clock. It’s uncertain if Bartle will get another chance to convince them to let the bill pass.