Bill would require genetic marker analysis for Nevada felons
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – All convicted felons would be required to provide samples for genetic analysis, according to a bill approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
The Judiciary Committee endorsed AB489 after hearing from a crime expert who said investigators would be able to find more suspects in many unsolved cases with such expanded testing.
”The larger the database, the more likely we’ll be able to come up with a suspect in an unsolved case,” Jeffrey Riolo of the Washoe County Sheriff’s office told lawmakers.
”With newer technologies for DNA, we can go back and see if biological material can help solve crimes that happened in the past,” said Riolo, who works in the department’s forensic science division.
Currently, DNA samples are taken from people convicted of sex offenses, homicides and burglaries. Forensic scientists use biological samples, including saliva, sweat, hair and blood to develop a genetic profile. Each test costs $151.
”We want to have DNA testing for all felons because we’ll be able to track down more people suspected of a crime and it’ll help prove the innocence of some people,” said Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, who introduced AB489.
”There are many people in other states that have been taken off of death row because of DNA testing.”
David Gibson, a deputy Clark County public defender, said costs are a factor, adding, ”The state has to do what it can. But $151 per person who commits a felony is a lot of money.
”If federal money isn’t there, it’ll have a big fiscal impact.”
Had the law been in affect last year when 3,606 were convicted of felonies, it would have the cost the state more than $544,000.
But Gustavson said that the federal government has set aside $170 million in grant dollars for states that expand their DNA databases.
Judiciary members who favored the measure included Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, who chairs the panel.
”States are moving in the direction of obtaining genetic samples from felons,” Anderson said. ”These days, they’ll take a swab and get a saliva sample. It’s not like they’re drawing a quart of blood.”
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