A new Ohio law could be an invasion of privacy for charged felon - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

A new Ohio law could be an invasion of privacy for charged felons

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Certain civil rights groups say a new state law in Ohio could violate your civil rights.

Taking effect July 1st, law enforcement will now take a DNA swab upon a felony arrest.  Right now, police can only request a sample or a judge can order someone give a sample if that someone has been convicted of a felony. 

"How far do we allow law enforcement to go without the individual's consent or without a court order?" asked Toledo defense attorney Jerry Phillips. "You can't legislate away your constitutional rights."

The idea behind the law is to possible match a suspect's DNA to other crimes by using the state's DNA database.  With a match, police could have the opportunity to keep their suspect in custody for a longer period of time.

Toledo police chief Mike Navarre says his officers make it a habit to ask suspect's for DNA samples now.

"It is a very small intrusion to take a saliva sample," Chief Navarre told WTOL 11. 

He compares the practice and the new law to taking a suspect's fingerprints upon arrest.  Chief Navarre says he backs any way to expand the state's DNA database. 

"If it was a matter of sticking a needle into their arm, that could be too intrusive, but not taking a saliva swab," Navarre said.

Phillips says he will advise all clients to cooperate with the new law since a refusal could lead to an additional charge of obstruction of official business. 

"I tell my clients to cooperate with the police and later on file a motion to suppress," Phillips said. 

Phillips said even though the DNA sample could connect a suspect to other crimes, the courts might throw out the DNA evidence in those cases later.  Phillips says the suppression would come since the swab was taken without conviction or without consent.    

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