Bill Would Expand DNA Testing
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. June 14, 2013
New Jersey is considering demanding DNA samples from people convicted of less serious crimes.
Current law requires people arrested for violent crimes to submit a DNA sample for the state’s database.
A measure sponsored by Senator Nick Sacco would extend DNA sampling to convicted disorderly person’s offenders who already are required to be fingerprinted.
“It’s the next step. It’s very similar to what New York is doing. It’s time for New Jersey to do it to try to solve a lot of unsolved crimes and also possibly to free up people who are in prison who shouldn’t be there.”
Sacco says the bill reflects a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that DNA testing of criminal offenders is reasonable.
“The Supreme Court ruled that it is permissible. New York State has been doing it, and I believe we will have the same opposition to it we had in 1994 when we had the first DNA bill passed.”
Sacco does not expect the additional testing would significantly increase the government’s costs.
“I have a bill in that already passed that makes the person who gives the test if they have the ability to pay, they have to pay for the test.”
The Senate Budget Committee unanimously passed the legislation and it now goes to the full Senate for consideration. It’s still awaiting action in the Assembly.