Inside Opinion

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Tag: dna


Try again for DNA collection after arrest

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a Maryland DNA case should give new life to efforts that died last year in the Legislature.

Those efforts held promise for solving serious cold cases and for exonerating people who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes.

As a House member in 2012, state Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, sponsored a bill that would have required collection of DNA samples from persons arrested for major felonies and two gross misdemeanors (stalking and violating a protection order). State law already allows for DNA collection upon conviction or

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The wrongfully convicted deserve compensation

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

In 1993, Alan Northrop was found guilty in Clark County of rape, burglary and kidnapping and spent 17 years in prison for the crimes. There was a problem with that conviction, though: Northrop was innocent.

Thanks to efforts by the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington’s Law School, DNA tests of evidence finally cleared Northrop, and he was released in 2010. Besides being wrongfully imprisoned, he missed seeing his three young children grow up. Today he owes more than $100,000 in back child support and says he lives paycheck to paycheck.

Under current state law, he has little chance of receiving compensation for his wrongful conviction. He would have to sue on such grounds as police or prosecutorial misconduct, which could be hard to prove in this case: The victim picked him out of a lineup. Read more »


DNA-collection bill addresses civil-liberties concerns

State Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

It took Richard Nixon to go to China, Bill Clinton to reform welfare and state Rep. Jeannie Darneille to push House Bill 2588.

That legislation, which passed out of the Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee Tuesday, would require DNA samples to be collected from everyone booked for major felonies and two gross misdemeanors (stalking and violating a protection order).

Currently in this state, DNA samples are only taken upon conviction of major crimes. But in about half the other states, DNA is taken when a suspect is booked and then is entered into state and federal databases to see if it gets any matching “hits.” That system has led to solving numerous cold cases and even clearing the names of people wrongly convicted of crimes. Read more »