Brianna's Law Upheld By Supreme Court


Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signs Brianna's Law on May 29, 2013.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signs Brianna's Law on May 29, 2013.

Even with thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court, Brianna's law will not go into effect immediately.

That's because it's going to cost the state money to take samples and store the D.N.A

Beginning July first of this year, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony will be assessed a $3 fee to generate funds for the program

“We have a 1 year start up time to collect funds before samples are actually collected,” says Renee Romero, Director of Washoe County Sheriff's Office Forensic Science Division.

Romero testified in favor of Brianna's law when it was up before lawmakers this legislative session.

She estimates in Northern Nevada it will take more than half a million dollars annually to collect, test and store DNA taken from felony suspects at the time of arrest.

Monday the U-S Supreme Court upheld laws like Brianna's Law.

Their decision was based on a Maryland case where the defendant was arrest for assault but ultimately connected to a rape case because of his DNA sample.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the dissenting opinion, said, "This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA whenever you fly on an airplane."

Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority wrote: "Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

These were the same arguments state law makers wrestled with during the session before ultimately passing Brianna's Law out of both houses.

Under Nevada's law, if the felony arrest is dropped down to another lesser charge, or the accused felon is exonerated, the person can notify the state to that fact, and have his or her DNA removed from the central registry.

“There's a misconception that that is a very difficult process and its quite simple. It's a matter of a few keystrokes on the data base saying delete this profile from the data base,” says Romero.

While a defendant can request that his or her DNA be destroyed because they were not convicted of a felony.

Under Brianna's law the DNA will nevertheless be held for an additional 3 years, provided there are no additional felony arrests made.


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