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DNA Evidence Nabs a Monster

From the AP:

DICKINSON, Texas -- Authorities on Tuesday made an arrest in a nearly 20-year-old southeast Texas case where an 8-year-old girl was attacked and left for dead in a field, unable to cry out for help because her throat had been slashed.

DNA evidence tested last year led authorities to arrest 40-year-old Dennis Earl Bradford in connection with the 1990 assault in Dickinson, said Dickinson Police Chief Ron Morales.

Bradford was arrested in North Little Rock, Ark., where he has lived the past seven years. At the time of the assault, Bradford, originally from Dickinson, lived about two miles from the apartment where the victim was kidnapped, according to the arrest affidavit in the case.

The victim, Jennifer Schuett, told reporters Tuesday that she never gave up hope her attacker would be brought to justice.

In related news:

ACLU Says Extracting DNA From Suspects Unconstitutional - from Wired:

California's law requiring the authorities to take a DNA sample from every person arrested on felony accusations was challenged in federal court Wednesday as an unconstitutional privacy breach.

A lawsuit (.pdf), filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Californians who were arrested and released, seeks to overturn a voter-approved law that became effective this year. Proposition 69 requires detainees to provide a saliva or sometimes a blood sample upon felony arrest.



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Comments (17)

The concerns raised by the ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

The concerns raised by the ACLU are valid. Detainees that are never charged with a crime will have their DNA stored in a database.

It's a flawed law that may well be found to violate privacy rights.

Other states have laws that require convicted felons give up their DNA.

The California law requires innocent people (people who are arrested but not yet found guilty) give up their DNA.

Big difference.

In the case of the man arre... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

In the case of the man arrested in Texas described in the first part of Richard's article - the man's DNA was in the database as the result of a previous conviction.

The lab found DNA on male underwear recovered at the scene and ran it through the FBI's national Combined DNA Index System. The DNA matched Bradford, who was in the system after a 1997 kidnapping conviction in Arkansas. Police said he kidnapped a 35-year-old woman, sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. He served four years of a 12-year sentence in that case.

The California law goes one step further. The ACLU challenge is valid. The ACLU has not challenged the use of DNA from convicted felons as in the case of the Texas arrest cited above.

I don't see any difference ... (Below threshold)

I don't see any difference between giving up a DNA sample than having your fingerprints taken. Even law-abiding people applying for certain jobs (including licensed day care, foster parenting, working in a company's more sensitive areas, and much more) have to be fingerprinted to get the job, and many also have to take a drug test. The entire point of all this is to determine if you're really who you say you are. Honest people should have no problems with the law. The ACLU, however, is more interested in keeping dangerous people on the street than in protecting the law-abiding. May they all spend eternity in Hell being victims of the people they've "defended".

I'm with the ACLU on this o... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I'm with the ACLU on this one. Certainly, if someone is convicted, no problem with getting their DNA and putting them in a database. But, for those who were merely accused and then had their case dropped for whatever reason, they are no different in the eyes of the law than any other law abiding citizen. Just as I would be opposed to the government collecting DNA from all newborn babies, I don't think they should be treating any citizen like a criminal based on unproven charges.

"Even law-abiding people... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Even law-abiding people applying for certain jobs (including licensed day care, foster parenting, working in a company's more sensitive areas, and much more) have to be fingerprinted to get the job, and many also have to take a drug test."

That's voluntary - you can always choose to not apply for that license or job.

In the case of the California law that is being challenged by the ACLU you have no choice. If you are arrested your DNA goes into the database - even if its mistaken identity or a false arrest or you're found innocent.

If you are arrested your fi... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

If you are arrested your finger prints are taken and run through the system. Your finger print is a unique identifier for that person. If the match is found in the database that person can be charged returned to another state on an unrelated crime. Same could be true of DNA. Now the ACLU question is that other things about a person are revealed relating to medical issues? They also feel that a close match of DNA may point to a relative who has committed a crime.

So if CA only used it for Criminal matches and not for any medical issues would that be acceptable?

Right now we are engaged in a national debate where all US citizens regardless of status will be placed in a medical database that the government will run and and all our tax records will be subject to search . Where are they on these issues of privacy?

On the question of medical ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

On the question of medical records and privacy - where is the privacy now?

According to Republican Bobby Jindal, the electronic medical records brought about by health care reform will increase patient privacy.

According to Jindal:

•Electronic medical records: The current system of paper records threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.

EMR (Electronic Medical Records) has big benefits but yes, privacy matter should be addresses and strengthened.

Still, this is different from having your DNA taken from you involuntarily by the government without you first being convicted of a crime.

hcddbz nails it. DNA profil... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

hcddbz nails it. DNA profiling should be treated exactly the same as fingerprints. Do authorities destroy fingerprints of those arrested but not convicted? (No idea here.) But whatever they do with fingerprints, they should do the same with DNA. No medical or insurance usage should be permitted; only use in the interest of criminal justice.

-"I'm with the ACLU on this... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

-"I'm with the ACLU on this one. Certainly, if someone is convicted, no problem with getting their DNA and putting them in a database."-

I'd go even further than that. Only those convicted of the most serious felonies (murder, rape, etc..) should be considered in keeping their DNA. Too many things are illegal now. Every person violates some 'law' nowdays.

DNA is a powerful thing in the hands of the 'authorities' and the rapid increases in technology are making it even more powerful.

-"Police said he kidnapped ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

-"Police said he kidnapped a 35-year-old woman, sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. He served four years of a 12-year sentence in that case."-

If the above is true, then the most pressing issue shouldn't be DNA collection.
It should be
1. He only served 4 years of a 12-year sentence? WTF?
2. He was only sentenced to 12 years? WTF?

That's the REAL problem, folks. We're awash in an ocean of piddling 'crimes' and the serious crimes go underpunished.

The conspiracy nut in me ca... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

The conspiracy nut in me can't believe they would run your DNA through the system then destroy all of the data if you were found innocent.

However if they pick a guy up for exposing himself to school girls and his DNA shows that he is wanted in a rape case then I think it is natural that the idea has merit.

It is a trust issue. Do you trust your government to discard of the records if you are not convicted? Do they not already have a rap sheet with your photo and fingerprints if you have ever been arrested but not charged or convicted? So what is the difference?

SteveAcc... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Steve

According to Jindal: •Electronic medical records: The current system of paper records threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.

Yeah and I got a bridge to sell him.
Who many times this year has medical records of celebrities been accessed?

GAO reports 40% of Medicare and Tricare records are breached.


"A lawsuit, filed by the Am... (Below threshold)
tyree:

"A lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union..."

Another ACLU lawsuit like that led to thousands of mentally ill people being released from mental hospitals. One of those former patients used a metal bar to cave in the skull of one of my students. The ACLU claims it is helping us, but we always seem to wind up on the "victim" side of their efforts.

The ACLU claims it is he... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

The ACLU claims it is helping us, but we always seem to wind up on the "victim" side of their efforts.

The purpose of the ACLU is to create as many victims as possible. So what you complain about is not a bug - it's a design requirement.

"DNA profiling sho... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:
"DNA profiling should be treated exactly the same as fingerprints."
I gotta say that I agree with those sentiments. I'd have a hard time understanding who you could differentiate between the two types of personal evidence.
Someone who is arrested an... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Someone who is arrested and booked records are kept unless all information is expunged. Convictions do not factor into keeping of the fingerprints.

The FBI is already moving away IAFIS and creating new Biometric DATABASE


DNA should NOT be treated e... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

DNA should NOT be treated exactly the same as fingerprints.
Fingerprint contain just one bit of info - what your finger looks like.
DNA contains a lot more than that. In the near future, if you get someone's DNA you will be able to roughly tell what they look like, what race, hair color, allergies, body type, illnesses, future illnesses,etc..

Don't be so quick and eager to let the govt have access to so much info on it's citizens.




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