The new law, officially called the DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act, is expected to add the genetic data of 1 million people to California's databank over the five years, making it the largest state-run DNA databank in the country.
The law, approved by 62 percent of the state's voters in the Nov. 2 election, allows police to take DNA samples from every adult and juvenile convicted of a felony and from all adults arrested for specific felonies such as sexual assault and murder. In 2009, the law will be broadened to enable police to gather DNA data from anyone arrested for any felony -- ranging from residential burglary to murder -- whether or not they are ever charged or convicted with a crime.
Does this raise privacy concerns? As I've written in my series about the future of law enforcement, I don't like the idea of police robots scouring the sidewalks for DNA from spit and then mailing tickets to the offenders. But California's current law is limited to felons (and suspected felons, which is more troubling, granted), and may assist in revealing and prosecuting monsters like Chester D. Turner.
A former pizza deliveryman accused of being one of the city's most prolific serial killers was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges of murdering 10 women, two of whom were pregnant.
Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders ruled during a preliminary hearing that there was sufficient cause to believe Chester D. Turner committed the slayings that occurred from 1987 to 1998.
Turner, 38, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in an unrelated rape case. Pounders set a Nov. 15 arraignment date.
Turner's DNA was matched to sperm cell evidence from the bodies of all the victims, said Carl Matthies of the police department's scientific investigations division. The likelihood of the genetic profile belonging to someone other than Turner was one in one-quintillion, Matthies said.
It doesn't look like the DNA database authorized by Proposition 69 was involved in making this connection, but I don't have any doubt that once the system is implemented it will yield similar results.