January 24, New York, New York
New York has become the latest of a handful of jurisdictions to permit a controversial use of DNA evidence that gives law enforcement authorities a sophisticated means to track down criminals.
Under a state rule approved in December, DNA found at a crime scene that does not exactly match that of someone in the state’s DNA database can still be used to pursue suspects if the DNA closely resembles that of someone on file.
Since family members share genetic traits, a partial DNA match allows investigators to narrow searches to relatives of people whose DNA is already in the state database, forensic experts say.
But advocates for protecting the public’s privacy warned that the practice could be abused and effectively promoted a guilt-by-association approach to criminal justice that could result in the investigation of many innocent people. New York’s DNA database contains more than 343,000 genetic profiles of people convicted of serious crimes.
Keep in mind, DNA isn't destroyed. So all of those folks who are arrested and released have their DNA samples left behind.