|Houchin DNA bill on the way to the governor’s desk|
|Written by George Browning|
|Wednesday, 19 April 2017 00:00|
A bill authored by State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) requiring DNA collection of individuals arrested for a felony passed the Indiana General Assembly and is on its way to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his final consideration.
Senate Enrolled Act 322 requires all individuals arrested for a felony to submit a DNA sample via cheek swab along with fingerprints, photographs and other data during the booking process. Once probable cause has been determined, the DNA profile will be run through the state’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and compared to other profiles in the database.
“DNA profiling is an accurate, widely used tool that will help law enforcement solve crimes and convict those who are responsible,” Houchin said. “SEA 322 will give law enforcement the tools necessary to bring more criminals to justice for their crimes and bring peace to victims and their families.”
State Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger), a longtime advocate of this issue, echoed Houchin’s sentiments.
“Collecting DNA samples on felony arrest will help prevent serious crimes and can also be used to exonerate the innocent,” Zakas said. “This bill should improve our criminal justice system in a substantial way.”
State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) said this bill will help make law enforcement more effective.
“Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly to ensure that our communities are safe,” Merritt said. “I am grateful for all of the work the General Assembly has done to provide our officers and prosecutors with another tool to find and convict those responsible for crimes.”
If signed by the governor, Indiana will become the 31st state to allow DNA samples to be collected and used to solve and prevent crimes. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that such legislation is constitutional, and similar laws have solved tens of thousands of crimes across the country.
Sens. Houchin, Zakas and Merritt were joined by Sens. Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), Sue Glick (R-LaGrange), Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), David Niezgodski (D-South Bend), Chip Perfect (R-Lawrenceburg), Michael Crider (R-Greenfield), Greg Walker (R-Columbus), Michael Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores), Randy Head (R-Logansport), Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown), Andy Zay (R-Huntington), Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell), Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville), Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville), Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), John Ruckelshaus (R-Indianapolis), Karen Tallian (D-Portage) and Travis Holdman (R-Markle) as co-authors on SEA 322.