DNA from the accused

The Norman (Okla.) Transcript: A planned Oklahoma legislative study on requiring persons accused of crimes to submit DNA samples has its roots in a brutal Norman rape and murder nearly 20 years ago. Lawmakers used the Jewel “Juli” Busken case from Dec. 20, 1996, as evidence of the need for more DNA samples in law enforcement’s database.

Busken, a ballet student at OU, was raped and murdered in December 1996. Her case went unresolved until 2004 when forensic examiners matched DNA from semen stains found her clothing with Anthony Castillo Sanchez, a convicted burglar who was serving time in a state prison.

Sanchez was convicted in Busken’s murder in 2006 and a Cleveland County jury sentenced him to death. State Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, told the Associated Press, that having more DNA in the database would shorten such investigations.

The Associated Press reports 28 states and the federal government allow taking DNA samples from some defendants accused of crimes. Previous attempts to expand the database in Oklahoma have been turned away after legislators expressed concern about the constitutionality of targeting suspects who have not been found guilty.

Another big concern is what to do with the DNA samples if a person is found innocent or charges are dropped.

We look for a spirited discussion of the issue in coming months.

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