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Governor Signs Bill to Improve DNA Database Collection


May 06, 2005

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Thursday signed into law HB124, a bill to strengthen the state's DNA registry maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

The legislation permits corrections officers, probation or parole officers and law enforcement officials the authority to use reasonable force to collect DNA samples from eligible convicts who refuse to voluntarily submit samples to the registry.

Alaska law makes it a Class C felony to refuse to provide a DNA sample when required to do so under law for use in the national database called Combined DNA Index System and the state registry. However, there are some convicts who refuse to submit DNA samples despite the criminal consequences.

"This bill now allows us to obtain a DNA sample from the felons who are serving multiple life terms, but have denied permission for a swab to be taken," Murkowski said. "We are confident our efforts in maintaining a DNA registry will allow us to bring more cold case prosecutions in 2006," Murkowski said.

Alaska's DNA database was expanded in July 2003 to include collecting samples from all convicted felons along with those convicted of a misdemeanor against a person. More than 8,400 DNA samples have been submitted to the CODIS registry since 2003.

"The Department of Public Safety expects a significant increase in CODIS database 'hits' when all of these samples begin coming back this year," said Public Safety Commissioner Bill Tandeske. "This data will hopefully offer closure to the many victims of crimes or their families who are still seeking justice,"

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Anchorage, also closes a loophole in the law in which DNA samples were not required taken from some prosecutions in municipal courts that were otherwise required for the same prosecutions in state court.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
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