Ohio Gov. Robert Taft on February 15th. signed H.B 525 from the 125th. General Assembly into law, which is now going to “expand the existing collection mechanism which requires DNA samples to be taken of all persons convicted or pleading guilty to a felony or specified misdemeanors, and from all minors adjudicated delinquent for committing acts which would be felonies or those specified misdemeanors if committed by an adult.”
It is also going to permit “any blood relative to submit a DNA sample for inclusion in the Relatives of Missing Persons Database, along with parents and siblings of missing persons.”
The law expands the rationale for the Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation’s (BCII) sharing of DNA information with other law enforcement agencies, and now provides for the “’unidentified remains,’ in addition to unidentified bodies, to be sent to the county’s morgue for identification and disposal, and requires coroners to take fingerprints, photographs, and DNA samples from unidentified remains & transfer that information to the BCII.”
The new legislation also extends by one year the deadline for Ohio’s DNA exoneration testing program. The new deadline is October 29, 2005. Additional information & application are available on the Ohio Public Defenders’ Office website.
Ohio began collecting DNA samples in 1996 from its most violent convicted felons, according to a statement by the Attorney General’s office, and broadened the scope of “qualifying offenses” in August 2002. DNA samples, once collected, become part of the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics has an excellent survey overviewing DNA database statutes on its website.