Sexual assault survivor hopeful Indiana arrestee DNA bill will become law

Plan would collect NDA from felony suspects

(WHAS11) -- Indiana appears headed to pass a DNA bill that would require samples from felony suspects. Supporters suggest it could prevent crime and catch killers and rapists. 

Senate Bill 322 and House Bill 1577 are similar to a plan that has failed in Kentucky.

Advocates say DNA collection at the point of felony arrest is important because it allows investigators to link suspects to other crimes and, in some instances, crack cold cases perpetrated by serial offenders.

SB 322 and HB 1577 nearly mirror each other and would allow for collection of DNA from felony suspects. If that person was exonerated, or the charges were dropped, the DNA would be removed from the system. The current bills differ on the expungement period for DNA samples.

Michelle Kuiper is a well-known advocate and sexual assault survivor who testified in Indiana this year, as she did in Kentucky last year, supporting a similar bill.

In 1994 she survived an attack by a serial rapist whose identity would go unknown for more than a decade.

While the Kentucky DNA bill failed, she's hopeful Indiana lawmakers will finalize a plan.

"We're not talking about searching and seizing, we're not talking about anything like that,” insisted Michelle Kuiper. “We're taking about using tech for the better. And, you know, offenders use new technology all the time. That's their job, you know, that's why they're good at it, helps them to commit crimes. We just need to be using better technology today.”

Both Indiana bills have cleared their respective legislative bodies and lawmakers will compare and contrast with the expectation that one will make its way to Governor Eric Holcomb's desk.

Indiana's 47th District State Senator Erin Houchin authored SB 322. She's optimistic that one of the bills will become law. The effective date would be January 1, 2018.
 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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