1 February 205 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced an interim rule implementing section 203(b) of the Justice for All Act of 2004, passed by Congress as Public Law 108-405 and signed into law by President Bush on October 30, 2004. The rule will result in the collection of DNA samples from all persons convicted of felonies under federal law. This reform was successfully promoted by the Department of Justice as a legislative measure accompanying President Bush’s DNA initiative.
The DNA identification system is a valuable law enforcement tool that helps to solve rapes, murders, and other crimes by matching DNA found in crime scene evidence to the DNA of convicted offenders. This cannot occur unless and until DNA samples are collected from the offenders who committed the crimes. By enlarging the class of offenders from whom DNA samples are collected, this rule and the legislative reform it implements will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to solve such crimes and bring criminals to justice.
The rule amends 28 CFR 28.2, which specifies the offenses that will be treated as qualifying federal offenses for purposes of DNA sample collection. All persons who commit these offenses are subject to DNA sample collection following conviction. The important change made by the Justice for All Act, and implemented by this rule, is expanding the list of covered federal offenses to include all felonies, i.e. all offenses for which the maximum authorized term of imprisonment exceeds a year. The Justice for All Act provision-42 U.S.C. 14135a(d) as amended-and the implementing rule also carry forward certain additional categories of offenses for which DNA sample collection has previously been authorized, regardless of whether the offenses are felonies or misdemeanors.
The categories of federal offenses, conviction for which will now result in DNA sample collection, are as follows:
* Any felony.
* Any offense under the “sexual abuse” chapter of the federal criminal code (i.e. Chapter 109A of Title 18 of the United States Code).
* Any crime of violence (as defined in 18 U.S.C. 16).
* Any attempt or conspiracy to commit the foregoing offenses.
The implementation of the Justice for All Act reform by this rule will bring the scope of DNA sample collection from federal offenders more into line with that typically authorized for state offenders. Close to 40 states have enacted legislation authorizing the collection of DNA samples from all felons.