Posted By: On Behalf of J. Kevin Stockstill, Attorney At Law // On:
When investigating a crime, law enforcement can utilize two ways to collect DNA from a suspect. If there is probable cause, police can get a search warrant
for the collection of DNA from a suspect. If law enforcement do not have probable cause for a search warrant, however, they can put a suspect under
surveillance. At this time, if the suspect discards of anything that may include their DNA, police can (and will) retrieve the item for testing.
DNA Collection Under Surveillance
Though the latter may seem like an unlawful procedure, this is actually a very acceptable way to collect DNA in investigations. The Golden State Killer
case is a recent example of law enforcement's successful collection of DNA with a suspect under surveillance. Police were able to collect several sample
items from the trash can outside of the suspect's home and were able to swab his door handle in a public parking lot. After testing, the crime lab
found that his DNA matched samples of DNA collected at several crime scenes related to the case. Though the suspect has not yet been convicted, or
even gone to trial, this DNA collection did lead to his arrest and charge of twelve murders.
Louisiana's Controversial DNA Database
Thankfully, Louisiana has never known a serial killer like the Golden State Killer, but we have had our fair share. In fact, our very own Derrick Todd
Lee, whose DNA linked him to seven area murders, changed the way Louisiana authorities collect DNA. Since Lee committed other crimes and spent time
in jail during his 11-year killing spree, authorities felt that they should have caught him much sooner if they'd applied a DNA collection law for
specific crimes. This led to new laws that would make Louisiana's DNA database the most expansive for the population in the United States.
Just how did it grow so quickly? Louisiana authorities learned quickly and became the first state to pass a DNA collection law that would require the collection
of DNA from arrestees. According to Louisiana law (RS 15:609),
the following require DNA sampling:
anyone arrested for a felony or other specified offense, including an attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation, or accessory after the fact of such
a juvenile arrested for a felony-grade delinquent act, including attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation, or accessory after the fact of such offenses
a person convicted of an aforementioned crime
any person who dies as a result of being a victim of a crime of violence
Collections are taken upon booking, or, if a person is not already confined upon sentencing, the collection is taken immediately after sentencing. If DNA
is not collected upon booking, it must be collected prior to the release of the offender.
Has your DNA been collected as a result of an arrest or charge? Has your DNA been collected because you are a suspect of a crime? Call Kevin Stockstill
today for reliable, experienced criminal defense and to ensure that your case is handled correctly.