Nebraska Debates Collection of DNA Upon Arrest

State Sen. Bob Hilkemann introduced Legislative Bill 1054 that would allow for collection of a suspect’s DNA upon arrest for specific felonies. The bill lists out 17 violent felonies, as well as burglary and robbery. State Sen. Ernie Chambers expressed concerns that police would arrest individuals for the purpose of obtaining their DNA sample.

In the 2013 decision Maryland v. King, the Supreme Court ruled that taking the DNA sample does not violate the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. A broader voter-passed statute in California was recently struck down as unconstitutional by a state appellate court; the California Supreme Court will soon hear the case. In California, the law called for the collection of DNA of an individual arrested for any felony, as opposed to a specific list of felonies, as is the case with the Maryland and Nebraska law. In Maryland, if the individual is not convicted, the DNA is automatically destroyed; in California and in the proposed Nebraska bill, the individual must apply to get the DNA expunged.

State Sen. Bob Hilkemann believes that federal funding would allow for funding of this expanded DNA collection program under the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act.

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