Steuerwald says new DNA law provides effective tool for law enforcement

Posted by: Peter Hoffman and Abigail Campbell  | Friday, April 21, 2017

STATEHOUSE (April 21, 2017) — After several years of work to allow law enforcement to expand their use of DNA to solve crimes, State Rep. Greg Steuerwald’s (R-Avon) legislation was signed into law Friday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Under Senate Enrolled Act 322, those arrested for a felony would have a DNA profile taken through a cheek swab. The profile would be run through a federal DNA database if the arrest was made pursuant to a felony arrest warrant or after a court has found probable cause for the arrest. Currently, Indiana law allows for the swab to be taken after a felony conviction.

“DNA samples are an extremely useful tool that help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Steuerwald said. “We heard testimony in support of this legislation from law enforcement and groups like the Innocence Project, which reinforced the fact that DNA samples are a proven science that have solved crimes such as the recent one in Zionsville. After working on this issue for the past few years, it’s our hope that this bipartisan law provides a way for police to continue keeping our communities safe for all Hoosiers.”

Steuerwald also said the DNA sample would be expunged from the database if the person is acquitted of all felony charges or if the charges were downgraded to misdemeanors. Additionally, the sample would be removed if all felony charges against the person were dismissed or no felony charges are filed against the person with 365 days.

The new law also requires the arresting officer to inform the person of the DNA removal process and to provide them with instructions and a form that can be used for DNA expungement.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states currently have some form of state DNA collection upon arrest, as does the federal government.

The new law goes into effect July 1, 2017. Visit iga.in.gov for more information about this new law. 

-30-

State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) represents House District 40,

which is a portion of Hendricks County.

A high-resolution photo of Steuerwald can be downloaded by clicking here