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Senate Overrides Veto of DNA Database Bill Gives Law Enforcement Another Tool in the Fight Against Violent Crime

October 20, 2008



For Immediate Release

October 20, 2008

Senate Overrides Veto of DNA Database Bill Gives Law Enforcement Another Tool in the Fight Against Violent Crime

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Senate returned to session today to address over $550 million in necessary budget reductions. Prior to receiving the proposed budget reductions from the House of Representatives, the Senate went to work by overriding the Governor’s veto (39-0) of a DNA bill (S.429), which will give law enforcement another tool in the fight against violent crime.

“DNA is the fingerprint of the twenty-first century,” says Senate Judiciary Chairman Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston). “This bill will break the back of violent crime in the state of South Carolina. Other states have seen significant reductions in violent crime by enacting similar legislation. Many of those committing violent crimes are repeat offenders who continue to offend time and time again. This is the right thing to do for the people of South Carolina. We need to be a leader in this issue and not step back.”

The bill would allow law enforcement to collect DNA samples from individuals charged with crimes that carry a penalty of at least five years. The DNA would then be sent to the State Law Enforcement Division where it would be accessible for use, during the investigation of a crime, by all law enforcement agencies in the state.

“This bill is essential to building safe communities in South Carolina,” says Senator Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington). “If we want to build a solid economic foundation for the state we must first start by building safe communities. This bill holds significant personal interest for me. In my home community of Hartsville we were recently able to arrest someone who senselessly murdered an icon in our community, through the use of DNA evidence.” Senator Malloy served as the chairman of the taskforce that drafted the DNA bill along with several other bills focused on reforming how the state handles repeat offenders.

Another provision in the bill provides the procedures that must be followed by those who may have been wrongfully convicted and are seeking to use DNA as a way to confirm their innocence. The post-DNA conviction section of the bill is based on similar legislation that has already been adopted in 45 other states as part of the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a national organization dedicated to helping those wrongfully convicted to prove their innocence through DNA testing.

In addition to giving law enforcement more tools to use during the investigation process, the bill will allow family members of persons missing more than 30 days to provide DNA samples of the missing person to SLED to be used for future identification.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Douglas Ford

Majority Communications Director

South Carolina Senate

803.212.6295 – office

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