Ohio Enacts Law to Protect the Innocent

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland yesterday signed into law a DNA bill to protect the innocent. It is viewed as one of the most progressive in the nation.

Senate Bill 77... sets statewide standards for retaining biological evidence, requires the taking of DNA from anyone arrested on a felony charge and requires new procedures for suspect lineups.

The Ohio Innocence Project is impressed:

Leaders of the Ohio Innocence Project, based at the University of Cincinnati, said that in terms of impact, the bill is the most significant accomplishment in the organization's seven years of existence.

"Ohio is truly the national leader on innocence reforms and will be the role model other states look to as they contemplate similar measures in the coming years," said Mark Godsey, director of the Innocence Project.

Among the law's provisions: [More...]

  • Requires law-enforcement agencies to retain biological evidence for up to 30 years in murder and sexual-assault cases. The limit is five years when a defendant pleads guilty.
  • Requires DNA samples be taken from anyone convicted of a felony after July 1, 2011
  • Opens DNA testing to parolees and those on the sex-offender registry.
  • Mandates blind suspect lineups, in which the officer presiding either does not know the identity of the true suspect or uses a photo-lineup technique in which only the witness can see pictures placed in folders.
  • Gives an incentive for law-enforcement officials to record interrogations.

The text of the bill is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Jeralyn, the final link is to a fish and (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 05:56:15 PM EST
    game bill.  

    You need the link to HB 77, not SB 77. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Angel on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:04:33 PM EST

    Actually (none / 0) (#4)
    by The Maven on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:59:32 PM EST
    It is SB 77, but the link above is for the previous legislative session.  The proper link can be found here.

    thanks, fixed (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:19:22 PM EST
    using Maven's link

    Does Talk Left support law enforcement (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:15:01 PM EST
    collecting DNA from an person arrested for a felony?  

    No, we do not (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:20:15 PM EST
    and we especially object to taking DNA from those arrested for minor crimes and misdemeanors.

    Am I the Only One... (none / 0) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 09:33:56 AM EST
    Who has issues with extracting DNA from a suspect of a felony ?  What if the felony charge is dropped, or worse, the case has nothing to do with needing DNA, like wire fraud ?

    I can see this leading to indiscriminate arrests of many to find one.

    the other side of the coin (none / 0) (#9)
    by nyjets on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 12:19:54 PM EST
    The other side of the coin is that by collecting DNA from people arrested for felonies, it might be possible to link a suspect to other crimes that would otherwise be immposible.
    It is a tough call to make.

    Maybe in a... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 01:11:05 PM EST
    Perfect World in which crime labs didn't make mistakes, DA's didn't act on self-interest, and the cops actually cared about one's rights.

    Sorry, but I would not be down with some small town lab holding my DNA indefinitely because I was at some party in college in which a rape had occurred and the cops decided to 'arrest' everyone in order to find the culprit.

    How are they going to use it in the future, think about how many places one can leave their DNA in a day, hundreds I bet, and that's all anyone needs is the cops finding a cigarette butt and linking them to some crime with DNA.  Forget the rest, DNA is found next to a dead guy and things could get very hairy for a while, especially if by some strange coincidence, there was a relationship to said dead guy.

    Just seems to me that there is a very big incentive for cops to start arresting possible suspects to eliminate them rather then charge them.

    As a person who is law abiding, I should not have my DNA in a database when I have done nothing wrong.  If the system(people) could be perfected I would have no issue with the entire population having their DNA on file.  

    That will never happen, the perfection part, so when I read about crime labs, DA's, and cops railroading innocent people for whatever reason, it makes me skeptical of allowing them a piece of evidence that could later be used against me.  It's an unnecessary risk for anyone who has never had anything more then traffic tickets.