Sacramento, CA – Supporters say a new bill introduced today will repair an unintended Prop 47-created loophole by requiring DNA samples from offenders of previous felony crimes that are now considered misdemeanors.
In announcing AB 390, State Assemblymember Jim Cooper noted that, due to Prop 47, DNA collections of more than 250,000 offenders of crimes such as drug offenses, fraud, theft and forgery may not make it into the state’s DNA database. He states, “This is a simple fix. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor — certain misdemeanors – you leave a DNA sample. They swab your cheek. That’s pretty much non-invasive.” The bottom line, he maintains, “AB 390 will protect the public safety and ensure the ability of law enforcement to connect convicted criminals with their unsolved crimes of the past.”
According to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a vocal proponent of the bill, “California’s DNA Databank has solved thousands of cold case murders, rapes and other violent crimes. Many of these were solved because DNA was collected from offenders who committed theft and drug crimes. Collection from these types of offenders is critical to solving the thousands of violent crimes that remain unsolved.”
Supporters point out that a more expansive criminal DNA database protects innocent individuals from arrest and prosecution, and that 38 states already collect DNA samples for similar convictions. The legislature will consider the proposed bill in the coming months.