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Iowa law enforcement collecting DNA seeking criminal charges

People in Iowa may have heard about the new laws in effect as of July 1, which requires state law enforcement agencies to start the rollout on a massive new DNA data collection operation. The new law expands the scope of criminal offenders who will now have to submit a DNA sample that will be kept on record in an immense state and federal database of identifiable DNA signatures for an indefinite period of time.

The new law expands the DNA collection requirement to all people convicted of most aggravated misdemeanors under state law. This means that any Iowa citizen who is convicted of even relatively minor criminal charges, including drug possession, will have their data on file, even though there may be no rational relation to crimes, which are often solved by DNA evidence. Iowa and other states have collected DNA of people convicted of sexually violent crimes and other serious offenses, but people are questioning the motives that caused lawmakers and law enforcement to make the jump to collect DNA from people convicted of mere misdemeanors.

Obviously, this new law has given civil liberties advocates plenty of reason for concern. "DNA contains our most intimate, private information," said a representative of the Iowa branch of the ACLU. "I think Iowans understand that government should not be able to access and store forever that information without good reason," the representative further explained.

This new law gives people accused of criminal charges all the more reason to fight these convictions, otherwise, they may have their DNA on file indefinitely. Defendants have a right to representation in the criminal justice system. This is why experienced Iowa defense attorneys are available to help people face down a potential conviction.

Source: Muscatine Journal, "Iowa lowers the bar for criminals: Beginning July 1, lower-level offenders will be forced to give DNA to the state," James Lynch, June 29, 2014

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