by JERI CHADWELL
SB243, commonly referred to as “Brianna’s Law,” passed the Assembly today in a vote of 29-9.
The bill would mandate DNA testing via cheek-swab for persons booked on a felony charge. The sample would then be cross-referenced with DNA from other crime scenes to see if the arrestee was involved. In the event that probable cause was not established or the charges were dropped, the DNA samples would be destroyed.
SB243 was named for Brianna Denison, a young college student who was raped and murdered in Reno in 2008. SB243 passed the Senate by a unanimous vote last month. During today’s vote on the Assembly floor, seven Democrats and two Republicans voted against the measure. Only a few Assembly members commented on the bill prior to the vote.
Democratic Assemblyman Paul Aizley was one of the legislators who spoke in opposition to the bill, saying that it could violate 4th Amendment rights.
“Taking one’s DNA upon arrest strikes me as an unreasonable search and seizure,” Aizley said.
28 states currently have laws similar to what would be created by SB243. Democratic Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle spoke in favor of the measure prior to the vote, noting that a similar law in Ohio was used in the arrest of Ariel Castro—the man accused of imprisoning three women in his home for a decade.
“In the end, this legislation is about protecting our society from those who would choose to do harm over and over again,” Sprinkle said.
Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey also spoke in favor of the bill and asked his fellow legislators to consider that DNA collection from arrestees would help to exonerate the innocent as well as convict the guilty.
The bill is expected to go to Gov. Brian Sandoval for a signature after the Senate votes on a few small changes that were made to it by the Assembly.
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