STATEHOUSE (Feb. 21, 2017) — The Indiana House of Representatives passed State Rep. Wendy McNamara’s (R-Evansville) bill Tuesday that would allow law enforcement to expand the use of DNA to combat and solve crimes.
Under House Bill 1577, those arrested for a felony would have a DNA sample taken through a cheek swab. The sample would be processed through a federal DNA database to help law enforcement with unsolved crimes. Currently, Indiana law allows for the swab to be taken after a felony conviction.
“It is important we are giving law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to bring justice for families who have been effected by crimes, especially those that remain unsolved,” McNamara said. “We already fingerprint those who have been arrested, but it has been proven that DNA testing helps on a much more specific level.”
The bill would allow the expungement of all DNA samples if the person arrested of a felony didn’t have any charges filed against them within 30 days of the time they were arrested. McNamara said the samples would also be expunged if all charges were dropped or the person was acquitted of all their charges. Additionally, if the DNA swab is taken for a warrantless arrest, a court would have to rule that there is probable cause to process and keep the sample. Additionally, the DNA swap could exonerate suspects in an investigation.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states currently have some form of state DNA collection upon arrest.
The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about this legislation.
State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76,
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.
A high-resolution photo of McNamara can be downloaded by clicking here.