Against Proposition 69 and the DNA Fingerprint Act Essay

1699 Words 7 Pages
Abstract:
California’s Proposition 69 and the DNA Fingerprint Act both expand criminal DNA databases far beyond what is necessary to protect citizens and prosecute violent crime. DNA profiling techniques and databases have developed largely over the last fifteen years, and the recent expansions are only a part of an ongoing trend of ‘function creep’ that characterizes database expansion. Proposition 69 and the DNA Fingerprint Act expand DNA databases originally designed to house DNA samples from violent criminals to include samples from anyone arrested for a felony crime. This is unreasonable because many persons arrested for felonies are ever convicted or even tried, but under these expansions their DNA will be stored in a
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It was generally accepted that a DNA sample from a crime scene could be analyzed and compared with a sample from a suspect. A match could place the suspect at the scene of the crime and likely would produce a conviction. But if there are not suspects in a case, an analyzed DNA sample from the crime scene does not significantly help prosecutors. This dilemma, along with the development of the polymerase chain reaction technique in 19851, led to the establishment of DNA databases. The polymerase chain reaction
(PCR), which isolates small fragments of DNA that have a high degree of variability from individual to individual and copies them repeatedly, is the most effective and widely used forensic identification technique today1. It is the case of analyzing and profiling a DNA sample with PCR that makes large-scale electronic DNA databases possible.
Although privacy advocates have not found any instance of database abuse since databases were created in the early 1990s4, DNA profiles contain sensitive genetic information that could still potentially be used for unethical genetic and eugenic experiments if the proper restrictions are not placed on profiling. It may seem farfetched that a simple cheek swab could lead to such abuses, but it must be noted that twenty-five years ago the concept of DNA profiling was merely science fiction. Furthermore, the nature of DNA sampling is better suited for use in

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