Pennsylvania bill would expand DNA law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to expand the state’s DNA database.

State Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) said his proposal would permit the taking of DNA samples from people convicted of serious misdemeanors.

The current database, with few exceptions, includes only those convicted of felonies. Marsico said that allows people who committed serious unsolved crime to “fly below the radar.”

“The expansion of the database in other states has permitted many serious crimes to be solved and an arrest to be made more quickly, in many cases preventing the perpetrator from victimizing others,” Marsico said in a statement. “I feel strongly that this legislation will do the same in Pennsylvania and make our state a safer place.”

Marsico said since New York began collecting DNA for misdemeanor convictions in 2012, there have been 1,875 “hits” on profiles obtained just from low-grade theft convictions. DNA samples from simple assault convictions resulted in another 803 matches.

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