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Cook County To Begin Collecting DNA Samples After Supreme Court Ruling

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
CBS/WBBM
by Mike Krauser

Some Cook County Jail inmates and others arrested in the county will soon have to give DNA samples, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that taking such samples after an arrest does not amount to an “unreasonable search.”

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Illinois already has a law on the books – passed last year – allowing police to take DNA samples from anyone charged with first-degree murder, home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault or criminal sexual abuse.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department had been waiting until the Supreme Court weighed in on the issue of the constitutionality of taking DNA swabs from anyone arrested for a “serious” crime.

In a 5-4 ruling, the high court held that taking a DNA swab from a suspect in a serious crime is not an unreasonable search.

In light of that ruling, the sheriff’s office said it will start swabbing inmates on July 1, and entering their DNA into a national database.

Those who are freed on bond would be expected to give a DNA sample when they appear in court. Before the change in Illinois law on taking DNA samples was passed, authorities could only collect DNA after a conviction, with a court order, or with a defendant’s permission.

Under the new law, DNA samples can be collected after a grand jury has indicted a defendant, or a judge has found probable cause for the charges at a preliminary hearing, either of which often takes weeks after a suspect has been arrested.



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