The Norman Transcript


December 22, 2013

Should Oklahoma collect DNA of arrestees?



DNA collection expands

More than two dozen states have approved the gathering of “arrestee DNA” under varying rules, including Louisiana, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and New Mexico. Oklahoma collects a small number of DNA samples from arrestees who are in the country illegally.

The Oklahoma bill proposes to expand DNA collection to those arrested on suspicion of committing felonies or 18 misdemeanor crimes. DNA would be collected at the initial court appearance.

“The legislation passed committee, and when it was brought to the floor, I had several people who questioned whether or not it was constitutional,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.

In June, the U.S Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the legality of a Maryland law that allows DNA to be collected upon arrest, rejecting the argument that swabbing constitutes an illegal search. The decision opens the door to more widespread collection of arrestees’ DNA.

Jolley said he plans to push for his legislation again in the 2014 session.



Oklahoma first established a DNA database in the mid-1990s, entering the profiles of criminals convicted of the most violent offenses. In 2006, a law took effect that expanded collection to incarcerated and newly convicted felons. Since 2009, collection has been expanded to include those convicted of various misdemeanors, including domestic abuse, resisting arrest, lower-level drug possession and DUIs that result in personal injury.

DNA database matches have aided 1,431 Oklahoma investigations so far, according to FBI records updated in September.

Last year, Oklahoma authorities gathered about 7,600 new DNA samples from convicted offenders, submitting them for analysis to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. DNA profiles become part of the FBI’s national DNA system.

Jolley’s bill proposes expanding DNA collection to arrestees for the same types of crimes for which DNA is obtained from convicted offenders.

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