Proposed DNA Testing Bill Back on the Table

Jan 21, 2014

A proposed bill would require DNA testing to be done at the time of arrest for all sexual felonies in the state. The bill was previously proposed in 2011.  Its sponsor has high hopes this time around. 

Federal funding is available through 2015 to help states set up DNA testing, and bill sponsor Leslie Nutting says that may put pressure on lawmakers to pass the bill. Twenty-seven other states are already collecting DNA swab tests.  And the Supreme Court ruled last year that the practice is constitutional. 

According to Nutting such testing is good for victims because it solves the crime much more quickly, putting a stop to repeat offenses.  She says it’s also good for those who may have been accused unfairly. 

“In Laramie County, we just had someone released from prison who had been in prison since, I believe, 1982 for sexual assault,” she says.  “And he was found completely innocent and was released this year.  If the DNA testing had been done, he would have been found innocent in 1982.”

The bill has a provision that says anyone acquitted of a crime would have their DNA data wiped from their records, addressing concerns about privacy. 

Nutting will take the bill before the legislature next month.