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Senate approves bill to collect DNA samples before conviction - abc27 WHTM

Senate approves bill to collect DNA samples before conviction

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Should police be able to take DNA samples from people before they're convicted of a crime, or in some cases, before they're even charged?

The State Senate apparently supports the move. It passed a bill calling for the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for any felony and some misdemeanor crimes. The sample would be taken by an oral swab.

Those samples would be sent to a state and federal database.

"When a person's convicted of a crime they do lose certain rights, but when a person's been arrested they do have all their constitutional rights, so this is an invasive policy," said Andy Hoover of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"When you're arrested you have a photo taken, you have fingerprints taken," said Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery County). "This is just another part of that process."

The bill is now in the State House. Proponents said DNA evidence doesn't just nail guilty people, it can also help exonerate the innocent.

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