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US Senate to consider bill expanding DNA database beyond convicted criminals

[JURIST] In an effort to expand the nation's genetic database, US lawmakers are considering new legislation that would add DNA [bill summary] from thousands of suspected illegal immigrants, terror suspects and others who have been arrested, but not convicted, of federal crimes. The measure has already passed the US House of Representatives and the Senate is expected to vote on the issue soon. Backers of the Senate bill sponsored [press release] by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) [official website] say it would improve the ability of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) [official website] to help solve crimes. The FBI reports that in the past 15 years, CODIS computers have assisted in making DNA matches in more than 27,000 cases. The ACLU [advocacy website] opposes the expansion and says that taking DNA from people who are suspected rather than convicted of crimes would violate the Fourth Amendment [ACLU press release] protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the bill, all terrorism detainees would be entered into the database. USA Today has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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