Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, introducing the first proposal on his agenda for the new legislative session, announced yesterday that he wants to expand his state’s DNA database to include samples from not only those who are convicted of violent crimes and burglaries but also from anyone who’s arrested for such crimes. As the Washington Post reports,
The proposal, which the legislature will consider during its 90-day session, was praised by law-enforcement officials as an important tool for helping resolve unsolved crimes. But the initiative drew strong objections from civil libertarians and public defenders, who said it would infringe on the rights of people who are ultimately found innocent of crimes.
O’Malley (D) said the proposal, which would cost $1.7 million a year, is modeled after a law in Virginia, one of 11 states that have started taking DNA samples from arrestees in recent years.
“I can’t believe that we’re going to do this,” State Senator Lisa Gladden, a public defender, said. “The mere fact that you’ve been arrested is not dispositive of criminal activity…. Good policing involves shoe leather and smarts to get the job done. You don’t just use technology to ensnare people.”
O’Malley, the article notes, will follow up on yesterday’s announcement with an appearance today in Baltimore, where he plans to introduce a new program to monitor 200 at-risk youths. One hopes that this “monitoring” does not involve genetic sampling.