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More could be forced to submit DNA samples under proposed law

People who are charged with felonies in Colorado are required to submit a DNA sample. Lawmakers are now looking to expand that to people convicted of misdemeanors. Those in favor of such a law say it could help solve cold cases. However, some question the constitutionality of this proposed law.

In 2012, more than 40,000 people were convicted of misdemeanors in Colorado. Misdemeanors are typically less serious crimes when compared to felony offenses. Shoplifting and DUIs are two examples of misdemeanor offenses.

Last year, New York became the first state to begin collecting DNA samples from people convicted of misdemeanors. Some exceptions have been made. For instance, people convicted of marijuana-related offenses who do not have a previous criminal record are exempt from the law.

Denver's district attorney supports passage of the new law. He says it has shown to be successful in New York. There, DNA helped solve numerous rape cases after a man was convicted of a misdemeanor for jumping a turnstile in a New York subway.

Justice should be served for those who have been the victim of a serious crime. However, does this newly proposed law go too far? The policy director of Colorado's American Civil Liberties Union thinks so.

"I'm really not sure where this mission ends," the policy director said. "Might as well just put a little chip in us, don't you think, when we're born? It's not seeming so outrageous when you have bill like this."

It is unclear whether or not this newly proposed law will be passed. However, it does have the support of all of the state's district attorneys.

Source: CBS Denver, "Bill Would Require DNA From All Misdemeanor Convicts In Colorado," Solomon Banda, March 5, 2013

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