Law enforcement officers often get DNA evidence at a crime scene but they can’t connect it to a specific suspect. The senate is moving to preserve their ability to finally prosecute someone because the statute of limitations runs out before a suspect is identified. The situation has led to a strange procedure in which prosecutors have filed charges against the DNA, calling it “John Doe.” The step keeps the case alive indefinitely.
Senator Matt Bartle’s bill that has been advanced by the senate says the statute of limitations does not begin to run until a suspect is identified, ending the need for the John Doe charges. He calls the DNA evidence collection critical to solving crimes. “The results (of the program) already have been superb,” he says.
The same proposal adds robbery to the list of crimes for which DNA samples can be taken from suspects. The present law requires people arrested for numerous other crimes to give samples. But robbery was left out when the law was passed.
A roll call vote later this week could send the bill to the House.