WESTFIELD – Asm. Jon Bramnick, ranking member on the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, announced his support for a bill to expand New Jersey’s DNA database.
Currently, the state collects DNA samples of individuals who have been convicted of violent crimes such as murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault or kidnapping. Those found not guilty by reason of insanity are also required to submit samples.
Under bill A-2594, anyone arrested for an offense covered under the current DNA collection law would be required to submit a sample before they are released from custody. In the event that charges are dismissed or resolved through acquittal at trial, the individual may petition to have his or her DNA sample destroyed and have records of it expunged.
Bramnick, a Republican lawmaker representing part of Union County, said, “DNA evidence is the most accurate tool for law enforcement to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect. By expanding the DNA database, we allow law enforcement to efficiently and effectively apprehend the right suspect.”
Critics of the bill argue that it is unfair to impose penalties before a person has been convicted of a crime. “It is antithetical to the founding American value of innocent until proven guilty,” said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
The bill is scheduled to go before the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee today.
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