In previous posts, we have discussed the state’s implementation of a new law, Katie’s Law. The new legislation is named after a murder victim and seeks to identify suspects in Colorado criminal cases. While the law has been backed by many in the state who see it as a way to serve justice, the challengers of Katie’s Law continue to question the ethics behind the measure.
Katie’s Law has been in action in Colorado for four months now. As we have shared on this blog previously, the legislation opens up officials’ freedoms to collect and register DNA evidence in felony cases.
Anyone arrested for a Colorado felony is required to give a DNA sample. If formally charged with the crime, the suspect’s DNA will be stored in a law enforcement database. Before, that information was only kept if a suspect were ultimately convicted with the crime.
Recent reports have revealed the so-called success of the new legislation thus far. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation collects and manages the DNA samples taken from suspects and has reportedly processed nearly 10,000 samples since September.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has recently been touting the “achievement” of Katie’s Law. The rampant DNA collection has supposedly identified 40 potential suspects allegedly connected to older Colorado cases, including burglary, theft, sex assault cases and more.
Sources do not say that the connections have yet led to any new convictions. But even if Katie’s Law does lead to new suspects and criminal convictions, challengers of the law, including the ACLU, are troubled. They argue that the collection of DNA information from any suspect regardless of guilt violates Americans’ right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Denver Daily News: “‘Katie’s Law’ meeting expectations?” 17 Feb. 2011