Databasing Arizona

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If you ever get the urge to expose yourself in Arizona—and really, who doesn't?—be ready to give a DNA sample upon your arrest. And be ready for the sample to stay in the state's database.

Oh, and be ready for the sampling even if you're merely accused of the crime, and booked. No conviction necessary.

Supporters say the move provides an expanded crime-solving tool for law enforcement and compared taking a DNA sample to taking a mug shot or fingerprints at the time of arrest. Current law requires DNA samples only after a person is convicted of certain felonies.

"As we build that database, more people will be caught before police have to stake out a hotel room and wait for a second victim," said Sen. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, a former police officer who is the measure's key backer.

The provision, part of the state budget package, is now waiting action by Gov. Janet Napolitano, who is expected to sign the overarching bill as part of the agreed-upon state budget.

The idea has opposition from the Democratic left and the GOP right, but not enough to slow it down.

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  1. taking a DNA sample to taking a mug shot or fingerprints at the time of arrest.

    That sounds about right to me. I get my socks in a jumble over the government tapping my phone/email, or getting my bank/library records (especially without my knowledge). But this just seems to be SOP keeping up with the times.

  2. “As we build that database, more people will be caught before police have to stake out a hotel room and wait for a second victim…”

    …of unreasonable search and seizure.

  3. Hell. Do we really not have enough people in jail yet?

    Why don’t we just cut to the chase: lock everyone up for life as soon as they’re born. We’ll just have two classes of people, guards, and prisoners. For everyone’s safety, the guards will not be allowed to leave the prison. When they reproduce, their children will become guards, and when prisoners reproduce, their children will become prisoners. I think that’s the final solution we need that’s simple enough for everyone, even the most-dimwitted, knee-jerk anti-crime activist, to understand and therefore be comfortable with.

    If that’s what it takes to save just one life, it will all be worth it.

  4. Ah, here we go:

    You can live in fear all your life…” Gray said.

  5. This will expose my ignorance, and probably my naivete as well…

    If one is arrested, but not convicted of a crime, do the mug shots and fingerprints get thrown out?

  6. If one is arrested, but not convicted of a crime, do the mug shots and fingerprints get thrown out?

    No.

  7. arrested, but not convicted

    Related question: How long before this becomes a distinction without a difference?

  8. We invite our own oppression………cowards all!

  9. Can’t some smart guy defeat this on the basis of habeas corpus?

  10. It’s hard to see how this could be opposed without also opposing fingerprinting. And since fingerprinting has been going on for a long time…

  11. Max – The purpose of fingerprinting isn’t permanently to deprive an individual of a body part. Just (alas, perhaps fruitlessly) sayin’.

  12. I’ll start worrying when I come face-to-face with my clone.

  13. I guess I’ll just have to expose myself in New Mexico and Texas.

  14. Also, as one of the comments said, “Fingerprint: Identifies who you are. DNA: Who you are, what diseases you potentially have, ethnicity, gender, etc, etc.”

  15. Thanks Issac. I assumed as much.

  16. M, “DNA” doesn’t mean a complete genetic sequence (that still costs a fortune, and you don’t need it for identification purposes).

  17. How long before the cops get the idea of making everyone who is in a traffic stop give a DNA sample? Assumeing they haven’t already. Why don’t the people who support this idea just volunteer for a tag and track program where they get a chip implanted in them and the government can track their wereabouts at anytime? Afterall they have nothing to hide and if they are ever kidnapped, it would be like a LOJACK system.

  18. Okay, Max, thanks – so I’ll revert to my habeas plea. And again, just sayin’, but your modifier “still” is important: That price will eventually tumble, like all tech goods.

  19. John – Replace “government” by “private security company” and you’ve got a deal. But somehow I don’t that’ll satisfy everyone.

  20. s/b “don’t think”

    I need to implant tracking chips in my words.

  21. I’m in Tucson today and I’d say that the real risk of exposing yourself is the sunburn on your privates.

    We’re having a cow about dna samples but everybody just accepts fingerprinting and mug shots, which stay in the government data base foever.

    Being that fingerprinting and mugs are constitutional there is no reason to believe that giving up a mandatory dna sample is not. It is not invasive and is every bit as personal as a fingerprint.

    I disagree, however, that any of the foregoing is actually constitutional and I suppose that if we’re good libertarians we need to condemn dna sampling and revisit the fingerpinting mug shot issue and rag on that as well.

  22. …and one last thing — we need to start arresting a lot more people now to pay for the new DNA program, so think of everyone out there as a criminal. That’s all.

    Oh, and be careful out there.

  23. I guess I’ll just have to expose myself in New Mexico and Texas.

    Try Nevada, I believe it’s encouraged there.

  24. M, “DNA” doesn’t mean a complete genetic sequence (that still costs a fortune, and you don’t need it for identification purposes).

    Not necessarily, but testing for cancer markers, or paternity, or a million other things that the police have no business having such easy access. But, having a DNA sample is necessary and sufficient for a complete sequence – and prohibitively expensive now will become trivial in a few years.

    I guess it needs to be said again. A fingerprint only contains information regarding the shape and texture of the tips of your fingers – nothing more. DNA can potentially be used to innumerate every distinguishing characteristic. Random shit – what I’m allergic to, if I’m color blind, whatever. Bad, bad, bad.

  25. WC – The Oregon Supreme Court just answered affirmatively to your supposition.

    There is no difference between fingerprints and DNA.

    see: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/S53056.htm

    (cut and paste it I guess)

  26. Yeah, I know the OR Supremes couched (thats “cooched” to you non-Oregonians), their reasoning with the robe of ‘felons only’.

    Bur I woulod submit that they have started the slide towards DNA collection for all arrestees:

    To wit:

    “No particularized probable cause or suspicion is needed to justify gathering or retaining a permanent record of a person’s identity through fingerprints and photographs, even when he or she has only been arrested, and this court never has required that a person’s fingerprints and photographs be discarded after their initial evidentiary and identification purposes had been served or after that person has completed his or her sentence and/or period of supervision or conditional release. The fact that DNA testing enables the state to obtain and preserve a much more accurate record of identification of a convicted person does not meaningfully distinguish taking that person’s blood or buccal sample from taking his or her fingerprints or photograph.”

    This is bad news.

  27. Cecil, thanks, I guess. Big Sigh.

    I’m going to go throw the kids in the pool.

  28. Pig, it’s bad, but so’s fingerprinting. You’d think so too if today was the day the Supers ruled that collecting fingerprints was okay. But since the cops have been doing it for decades it just seems regular SOP.

  29. M,

    The test points of the DNA profile were deliberately chosen to avoid any association with known disease markers, such that the privacy implications aren’t substantially greater than with fingerprints. Of course, that only pertains to an individual sample. The biggest privacy implication is that it’s possible to derive familial relationships given a little more work. The specificity there drops off by several orders of magnitutde. So if there are 1 million samples in the database, and they checked yours against it, the odds of a false match are still highly improbable. However, when checking paternity, there may be dozens or even hundreads of potential matches. Also, they can determine gender from a sample, but if it’s something they’re adding to the database, that’s a fact that they already know. The way DNA testing is currently done, I’m not that concerned.

  30. And don’t forget…

    It will be our country’s best and brightest civil servants in charge of labeling and cataloging the samples.

    Some courtroom in 2012:

    Judge: I do not care if you claim to be white male with blue eyes and olive tone skin, sir. You’re arrest record from Tucson in 2010 clearly shows that you are, in fact, a female of Chinese extraction born with pasty white skin and a missing left foot.

    Poor Bastard: Your honor can see that I am a white man with blue eyes and olive skin, can’t he?

    Judge: Justice is blind my friend. And you just got an enhanced sentence for speaking at your trial. See you in 262 months, sucker.

  31. …I suppose that if we’re good libertarians we need to condemn dna sampling and revisit the fingerpinting mug shot issue and rag on that as well.

    Concur.

  32. ed | June 22, 2007, 10:24am | #
    I’ll start worrying when I come face-to-face with my clone.

    What kind of name is Ed for a pretty thing like you?

  33. Drat – posted on wrong thread, sorry.

  34. I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a DB for law enforcement for everyone in the world’s DNA. I don’t see how it could hurt to be able to easily identify those who commit crimes, and rule out those who did not commit crimes.

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