MTYT: DNA database controversy

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Call me naive, but I really didn't see the controversy associated with the DNA database bill that recently passed in the North Carolina General Assembly.  I look at DNA technology as an amazing and wonderful tool that has become very valuable for solving crimes and helping prove guilt or innocence.  Why wouldn't we want to use the most modern means available in our criminal justice system?

This new law will require police to take DNA samples from people arrested on felony and certain misdemeanor charges.  Current law requires only convicted felons give samples.

Some objected to this bill saying it has racial implications.  I'm sorry, I can't make that connection.

There was at least one legislator who felt it starts us down a path that could lead to the arrest of people because they carry the anti-social trait in their DNA and they may commit a crime in the future.  I find that argument laughable.

But my favorite objection to the bill was that it violates the basic American principle of presumption of innocence.  Based on that argument, the police wouldn't be allowed to arrest anyone.  Of course we are innocent until proven guilty, but that shouldn't keep us from using every measure available to prove that guilt or innocence.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me.