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Orange County

D.A. Supports Taking DNA From Prisoners

April 05, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas is pushing for legislation that would authorize state prison officials to use "reasonable force" to obtain DNA samples from inmates.

The proposed law would cover inmates who are required to give a DNA sample but have refused to. Rackauckas said the samples could help law enforcement link inmates to unsolved crimes. "I am tired of victims having to overcome hurdles in order to obtain justice," Rackauckas said in a written statement released by his office Thursday.

A 1998 law requires prisoners convicted of crimes such as sexual assault and murder to provide DNA samples.

Those samples are added to a statewide database used to link crimes. The database, which currently has 167,000 samples, has connected 83 violent crimes to inmates, according to the district attorney's office.

But 900 prisoners statewide have refused to provide a sample.

Rackauckas said 12 other states allow prison officials to use "reasonable force" to obtain DNA samples.

State Sen. Jim Brulte (R-San Bernardino) and Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) are working with Rackauckas on the legislation.

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