Green light given for more police DNA testing

Green light given for more police DNA testing

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - You could soon be subjected to DNA testing for any crime even if you've been falsely accused.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect anyone involved in a crime.
And it doesn’t matter if one is innocent.
The ruling upholds law enforcement’s policy to take DNA on anyone arrested.

The Salt Lake County jail has been doing some DNA swabbing for the past decade.
Angelina who didn’t want her last name used was just released from jail after spending five days for a misdemeanor. She's not sure if her DNA was taken.

“I don't know for sure,” she says. “They did take a TB test and so they did put a needle in my arm.”

But those in charge say she was spared. Sheriff Jim Winder says only serious offenders are swabbed.

“They constitute predominately violent felons,” says Winder. “However there are unique provisions to get into misdemeanor level but its clearly defined by statute and policy but we're not doing everybody.”

And he says only those who have been convicted of crimes are DNA tested. But last week's court ruling could changes jail policy in the near future.

“What the supreme court is saying, it's like a photograph, you don't have to be convicted, it doesn't have to be serious, it doesn't have to be under unique circumstances,” says Winder. “If you come to jail we can take your DNA.

And that could mean people like Angelina would be swabbed at the jail.
Civil rights attorneys say the courts ruling opens the door for DNA testing.

“The fact that the court found anybody arrested regardless if they aren't found guilty of anything that they can take your DNA, it's a scary slippery slope,” says Stanton gollan with the Utah Legal Clinic. “Who else is now going to be able to take you DNA?”

And that's what terrifies Angelina.

“If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and they take your DNA and they make a mistake with that DNA assuming you've done something wrong, you are ruined for the rest of your life,” she says.

But Winder says expanded DNA testing will not happen over night. He says the legislature has to set guidelines.

“There’s risk and costs involved,” says Winder.
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