Rep. Maeghan Maloney (Maine Compass, April 9) describes proposed legislation that would require all persons charged with a serious crime to submit a DNA sample for analysis.

While there is no disputing the power of DNA evidence, this bill is misguided and unnecessary.

Maine law already requires all convicted felons to submit a DNA sample, so those who are convicted of the crimes with which they are charged eventually end up in the database anyway.

Furthermore, the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory has a backlog of about 1,000 convicted offender samples.

Maloney says criminals convicted of a violent felony would pay an extra penalty to cover the costs of DNA testing, but who will actually run the tests if the scientists are too busy to analyze all the samples already at the lab?

This backlog of convicted offender samples is not unique to Maine. In a 2009 survey, the U.S. Department of Justice found that 16 percent of state crime laboratories reported specific instances of an offender committing additional crimes while his or her DNA sample was part of an unanalyzed backlog.

The fact that states are requiring DNA from more people without increasing staffing and resources is a major contributor to the current backlog of convicted offender DNA samples. Maloney’s bill would simply exacerbate the problem.

Julie T. Millard

Dorros Professor of Life Sciences

Colby College

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