Monday, May 12, 2008

DNA and Fingerprints

Another article emerged about DNA collections during arrests. This time on the state level. One comment exemplifies the problem with taking DNA from people who haven't actually been convicted of any crimes.

I find it very naive the comment made "Those who are innocent have nothing to fear."

I had fraudulent criminal charges laid against me which were eventually thrown out. At the time of charging they took fingerprints. Here's what happened even though the charges were thrown out. The fingerprints were kept on file. As a result my name kept popping up during routine employment inquiries as having a police record. Needless to say that destroyed my career. Secondly there was a break in at a home during which my finger prints were found and I was identified as a suspect. The police took there time in making additional inquiries with the person who reported the crime i.e. my best friend. I was with him when the break in occurred and of course my finger prints were in his house. We regularly visited each other. I have no doubt that if a store was broken into near where I live they would have found my finger prints there since I regularly shop there. The danger is that keeping these kinds of records may prevent a proper police investigation being done into all the circumstances and context in which the so called evidence was found. I am totally opposed to the state having a sample of DNA kept on file for people who have been charged but not convicted. I have gone through years of hell trying to have the police record of my being charged including finger prints being destroyed. We used to have this legal principle innocent until proven the onus seems to be that once charged and even if the charges are thrown out, on any subsequent incident you will automatically be deemed guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.

I understand the pain that Ms Neuman wet through. But we start down a slippery slope once we allow governments to keep these kind of records. The danger at the very least is that the police will see such evidence as being a substitute for a proper investigation.

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