California's Proposition 69: A Dangerous Precedent for Criminal DNA Databases

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 33 (2):279-293 (2005)
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Abstract

On November 2, 2004, California voters approved Proposition 69, “The DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime, and Innocence Protection Act” by a margin of approximately 60 to 40 percent. Given the limited amount of information provided to voters during the initiative process, it is unclear how many of the yea-sayers were apprised of the full implications of this measure. Indeed, by voting “yes” on Proposition 69, California has elected to house the most radical and costly state criminal DNA database in the country. This dangerous expansion of California's database poses tremendous threats to civil liberties and social justice while offering little, if anything, by way of increasing the safety of its citizens.Prior to November 2, California law required the permanent retention of DNA samples from felons convicted of serious, violent crimes. The new law expands the database to include DNA samples from all felons and individuals with past felony convictions - including juveniles - and, beginning in five years, all adults arrested for any felony offense.

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