Saturday, February 19, 2011

Colorado’s New DNA Law Paying Immediate Dividends

Colorado's New DNA Law Closing Cases

Katie's Law Spreading to Other States

By: Joseph Giacalone

The State of Colorado has added a successful new crime fighting tool to their repertoire.  When Katie’s Law went into effect this past September, law enforcement officials were hoping to get some help in closing cold cases.  They have not been disappointed. The law, which requires all persons arrested for a felony to provide a DNA sample, has closed dozens of cases including cold case rapes. This law was important for law enforcement officials, which long had to wait for a felony conviction in order to get the precious DNA sample. If no felony charges are filed after the arrest, the samples are then destroyed within the year.

Law enforcement’s job has gotten tougher and not easier over the years. Eyewitness evidence has come under attack as a viable form of direct evidence in the courtroom so law enforcement officials have had to rely heavily on DNA evidence. Knowing this, perpetrators have made a conscious effort to avoid leaving DNA behind at crime scenes and to mitigate Locard’s Exchange Principle: The theory of transfer of all evidence between people. This constant cat and mouse routine has allowed many perpetrators to live amongst us, undetected.   

Crime Control Advocates will praise this new law.  It will provide a new avenue to detect perpetrators from past crimes earlier and decrease the rate of victimization and re-offending.  Civil Libertarians will not like the law and state they we are now going down that “slippery slope.”  However, this new law will also be able to identify wrongful convictions faster than ever before.  Instead of waiting years for a conviction in order to get the DNA sample, it will be available immediately.  

Colorado is one of four states (New York, California and Virginia) that allows Familial DNA searches and now has another successful new law to keep the public safe and the right criminal behind bars. A future evaluation of how well these laws are doing will be a hot topic for both Crime Control and Civil Libertarians alike.   

Related Articles:
Familial DNA: The Savior for Cold Cases? 
New York State Senate Expands DNA Usage

1 comment:

  1. Is good that laws like this are pass... At least now it will be more easily to catch criminal and prevent crime...In addition, I think that this law should be in all state....Also this will help people that may be on prison wrongly.