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Felonies: Are there rules for retaining DNA for databanks?

| Sep 3, 2019 | Felonies |

The advances in DNA technology have benefited many individuals and concluded various cases. It has been successfully used to prove guilt and innocence in felonies nationwide, including Michigan. The use of DNA technology has led to convictions in cases that went cold decades ago, and it has also set free several people who spent many years in prisons for crimes they did not commit.

However, questions are being asked about the rules of obtaining DNA samples. There is also uncertainty about retaining DNA profiles of individuals who are not convicted for the crime for which the samples were collected. One case in another state involves a family who struggled for more than a year to get the DNA profile of their 12-year-old son removed from a genetic database. Reportedly, the child was tricked into accepting a soda while police questioned him. They retained the straw, and although his DNA cleared him as a suspect, the profile was kept in the databank.

Many online DNA services are open for all to use, including law enforcement. These services are frequently used to find relatives of unidentified suspects by comparing DNA profiles. Authorities say they only have access to the DNA profiles of those who are genetic matches with the DNA of suspects obtained from crime scenes. However, concern exists about the trend of law enforcement agencies to build genetic databases without state or federal regulations.

People in Michigan who are charged with felonies based upon evidence obtained from DNA profiles may have questions about their legal rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide answers and protect the legal rights of the accused individual while providing advocacy throughout ensuing legal proceedings. The attorney can also scrutinize the procedures followed in the investigation and address any irregularities in the court.