Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicago Criminal lawyer provides an update on DNA use in criminal matters and "just in case"

This Chicago Criminal lawyer posted here and here about the forensic use of DNA in crimes. Now comes news of an additional alleged accomplice to a murder being clipped.

January 27, Chicago, IL

Last year, convicted murderer Johnny Plass wanted a change of scenery.

He didn’t like Stateville Correctional Center and wanted to move.

So he gave Chicago Police the name of a second alleged accomplice in a 1998 slaying that he and another man have been convicted of.

Detectives Kevin McDonald and Mike Mancuso jumped on the tip under the supervision of Sgt. Bill Whalen in the Grand and Central detective headquarters.

And based on DNA evidence collected from the murder scene, along with witness statements, they have obtained a murder charge against Andrei G. Pagsisihan, who was serving prison time for a 2007 burglary.

So this sounds really, really good but here's the drawback:

From the Texas Civil Right's Project's Press Release:

May 19, 2009
The federal lawsuit filed in March by the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of five parents has resulted in new state legislation to protect the state’s access to people’s genetic information. The legislature sent the law to the governor today for signature.
The lawsuit sought to end the practice of the Texas Department of State Health Services from collecting and indefinitely storing blood samples from the blood screening done at childbirth without parental consent or disclosure to the parent – a secretive practice the health department has engaged in since2002.Currently, about 4 million samples stored at Texas A&M, taken from every person born since2002.
The new law, which TCRP helped negotiate, requires the department to present a detailed written disclosure form at time of birth, giving the parent the opportunity to opt out of the program, either at that time or within 60 days thereafter.
The new law also permits any adults to withdraw consent and have their sample destroyed, even if the parent had given consent. Nor may the department make any use of information or data taken from the sample, if destruction of the sample is requested.
The law puts into places rigorous privacy and confidentiality standards and assures that testing and research will be done consistent with accepted professional medical research methodologies.
Finally, it sets up an interim House of Representatives committee to study the application of the new law and make recommendations to the next session of the Legislature in 2011.

Yikes! You read that right. Over 4 million DNA samples have been collected without parental consent. Your tax dollars hard.

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