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New Iowa Law to Require DNA Samples from Misdemeanants

January 28, 2014  | 

Beginning July 1, offenders convicted of most aggravated misdemeanors in Iowa's courts will be required to submit a DNA sample, reports the Sioux City Journal. Current law requires felony convicts as well as sexually violent predators and sex offenders to submit DNA samples.

When he signed the bill into law in May, Gov. Terry Branstad said it will help police solve crimes and possibly exonerate suspects who have been falsely accused.

Zac Chwirka, Sioux City Police identification and property supervisor, said the law will expand the statewide DNA database and improve chances that DNA collected at a crime scene will match someone already on file. Other state labs can tap into Iowa's database, which is helpful when dealing with Sioux City crime suspects who live in Nebraska or South Dakota.

The new law goes too far, some say. Rita Bettis, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said the law expands DNA collections from cases that have a rational relationship to DNA -- sex-related crime and other felonies -- to lower-level, nonviolent offenses.


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