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house Bill H.R. 320

Should U.S. Police Start Using Rapid DNA Testing?

Argument in favor

DNA evidence has become a critical part of the judicial process. But it takes a long time to process. Rapid DNA analysis will help law enforcement officers do their job faster, and can help clear an innocent person's good name in only 2 hours time.

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06/09/2015
The foundation of justice is truth. If we have the tools necessary to provide us a clearer and truer answer quicker then we have every obligation to use it.
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Stormcrow's Opinion
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03/04/2015
If our court system is based on "innocent until proven guilty" then DNA evidence is unnecessary to clear an innocent persons good name.
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Jonathan404's Opinion
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07/12/2015
An innocent person should be able to leave the county jail as soon as possible for a multitude of reasons.
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Argument opposed

Without the oversight of trained scientists, these tests could easily be misused and pose a threat to civil liberties. Not to mention, these machines threaten the job security of technicians in DNA testing labs.

AutumnStarlight's Opinion
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06/09/2015
If you want to search my genetic code, get a warrant.
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helmsworth's Opinion
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03/08/2015
This is a huge can of worms. And I don't like the idea of police being able to amass a whole bunch of information about a person at their whim. Leaving it to trained professionals keeps DNA evidence impartial and accurate.
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John's Opinion
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03/03/2015
With cops we have today, the only difference between them and real criminals is a badge
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 13th, 2015

What is House Bill H.R. 320?

This bill seeks to increase the speed at which law enforcement collects DNA. It would do so by allowing police officers to collect DNA evidence with automated DNA collection systems in law enforcement facilities like jails and prisons. 

"Rapid" DNA analysis — where this bill gets its name — can be done in "a machine the size of a large desktop printer that can unravel your genetic code in the time it takes to watch a movie." Once a DNA profile is created, the machine can check it against a database — then report if and where there is a match. 

Law enforcement officials in Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina have already started employing this technology, and it has been tested out in China, Russia, and Australia.

Impact

People detained by law enforcement, police officers, DNA testing labs, lab technician job security, manufacturers of Rapid DNA analysis systems, local and state courts.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 320

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth:

This bill amends DNA Identification Act of 1994, which, under the watch of the Director of the FBI, created a DNA database of people that have been charged with crimes. It exclusively covers forensic laboratories where DNA testing had previously occurred. 


Rapid DNA analysis, however, does not work on rape kits, of which there is a huge backlog at police stations nationwide. Current machines cannot discern individual DNA strands when they are commingled in bodily fluids.


Media:

Co-Sponsoring Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Press Release (Previous Bill Version)

Mother Jones

Market Wired (In Favor)

FBI (Rapid DNA Fact Sheet)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user West Midlands Police

AKA

Rapid DNA Act of 2016

Official Title

To establish a system for integration of Rapid DNA instruments for use by law enforcement to reduce violent crime and reduce the current DNA analysis backlog.