Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Federal expansion of DNA sample collection

by team uab, lsw

This Washington Post article describes a government proposal to extend the policy of DNA sample collection (via cheek swabs) by federal authorities to include those arrested on federal charges, and some illegal immigrants detained by federal law enforcement. Currently, the federal government only collects DNA from those convicted of federal crimes. The proposed expansion builds on a growing state trend:

The move comes as 13 states -- including Virginia and, recently, Maryland -- have passed laws to include many arrestees in their DNA databanks. California, which has more than 1 million profiles, will begin collecting DNA from all felony arrestees next year. The information will be uploaded to the national database, which today houses more than 5.9 million samples, making it the largest forensic DNA databank in the world..

This development raises all kinds of issues, from immigrant rights, to privacy concerns raised by DNA collection, and to the question of how the DNA records of those who are arrested but not convicted (or whose convictions are overturned) are removed from the database. A good summary of the controversy can be found in the article.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Criminals turning to TV shows to cover their tracks

by team UAB, DB

You knew it was coming...ideas from shows like CSI being used by criminals to cover up murders.

“It was only when police told me that witnesses had said people were cleaning the car quite vigorously a short time after Andrew Scanlan disappeared and rolling tape on their hands to try to remove any forensic trace that would show Mr Scanlan had been in the vehicle.

“Luckily for us, there always tends to be some fibres left behind."

We all know criminals aren't the brightest...good thing even help from the media isn't enough to get away with murder.