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Initiative Statute Proposition 69

1029. (SA03RF0065). DNA Samples. Collection. Database. Funding. Initiative Statute.

Proponent: Bruce E. Harrington, c/o Thomas Hiltachk (916) 442-7757

Requires collection of DNA samples from all felons, and from adults and juveniles arrested for or charged with specific crimes, and submission to state DNA database; and, in five years, from adults arrested for or charged with any felony. Authorizes local law enforcement laboratories to perform analyses for state database and maintain local database. Specifies procedures for confidentiality and removing samples from databases. Imposes additional monetary penalty upon certain fines/forfeitures to fund program. Designates California Department of Justice to implement program, subject to available moneys: Authorizes $7,000,000 loan from Legislature for implementation. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: This measure would result in the following direct fiscal effects: Unknown annual state costs potentially over $10 million initially, increasing to a couple tens of millions of dollars when fully implemented to collect, analyze, and store increased DNA samples. These costs would be partially offset by increased criminal penalty revenues. Unknown annual local costs potentially several million dollars initially, increasing to over $10 million when fully implemented to collect DNA samples. These costs could be offset by increased criminal penalty revenues.

Libertarian Position[]

The Libertarian Party of California has come out in opposition to Prop. 69 as unneeded and intrusive to personal rights. If passed, it would require DNA samples from everyone arrested for a felony, whether or not charges were ever filed or a conviction obtained. It is estimated that 50,000 persons are arrested and never charged in CA each year. These people would have to go through a court process to have their DNA sample removed from the database, and unbelievably there would be no appeal process.

Then, there is the issue of mistakes. They do happen (lab mix-ups, etc.), and there are some examples of people being convicted on bad DNA evidence and having served years before retesting proved them innocent. Once in the database one would be, in effect, a suspect in all unsolved crimes. Innocent people (remember "innocent until proved guilty") should not be treated like convicts. Innocents will likely have to hire an attorney to get their DNA back, esp. since there is no appeal. Finally, the law is not required as real convicted felons already have to give DNA samples under current law. Naturally, this law will increase state costs.