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By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog
COLUMBUS — Ohio has a new law regarding DNA samples for those charged with a crime.
Senate Bill 268 was signed by Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday. It allows the taking of a DNA sample from individuals charged with a felony, but not arrested. It also allows for the sealing of all DNA records and profiles if the charged individual is found not guilty or the charges are dismissed.
Attorney General Mike DeWine applauded its passage.
“The new law will help expand our DNA database and ultimately lead to identifying suspects in many criminal investigations,” he said. “This will help law enforcement get justice for crime victims and
Ohio’s current DNA law allows for collection only from those who are arrested for a felony crime. Not all individuals charged with a felony are actually arrested — they can be indicted by a grand jury or summoned into court. S.B. 268 closes a gap in the existing law by allowing DNA to be collected from anyone who is charged, whether they are arrested, indicted or summoned.
Additionally, the existing law is silent on how DNA records are handled when an individual is found not-guilty or felony charges are dismissed. S.B. 268 requires DNA records to be sealed, along with other court documents, when the innocent party has requested and a court has so ordered. It also defines “official records” as including DNA specimens, records and profiles.
The new law will go into effect Aug. 6.
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