Bob Barr takes on DNA database expansion proposal

A few weeks ago, I posted on a proposal that would expand Georgia’s DNA database that was introduced by State Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna). The proposal would require anyone arrested of a felony to submit a DNA sample.

Bob Barr has weighed in on the legislation, HB 1033, and finds some serious constitutional flaws:

A person arrested for an alleged offense has not yet been proved to have done anything wrong. He’s had no day in court, no chance to defend himself, and been afforded no opportunity to challenge the charges against him. Arrest in our state as in many others, can rest on a foundation no stronger than a fellow citizen’s opinion; perhaps one bearing a grudge. All those important, time-honored and constitutionally-based limits on government-coerced evidence are undercut by forced collection of a person’s most private information at the start of the process rather than at the end.

While Rep. Teilhet obviously has read the current law in Georgia regarding collection of DNA samples from felons (since his proposal refers to the existing statute), perhaps others who might support his bill are not yet familiar with the already-extensive database of DNA information maintained by Georgia. For example, anybody convicted of a serious offense of a sexual nature, as well as anyone incarcerated for a felony or those on probation for serious offenses, is already required to give their DNA to the state.

Teilhet, like other DNA-database advocates, attempts to sooth his critics by claiming the legislation he pushes provides adequate protection against improper use or dissemination of the DNA information, and for removing the information if a person is not later convicted. Closer examination of the current law and of Teilhet’s proposed expansion of it, however, shows clearly the “protections” are inadequate. Information collected now or under Teilhet’s legislation would be available to virtually any law enforcement or prosecution agency requesting it. And, removing the information from the database if the person is later exonerated depends solely on the person himself having the knowledge and resources to seek such remedy, rather than being the responsibility of the government itself to correct its mistake.

HB 1033 is a constitutional wolf in sheep’s clothing and should not become law.

Teilhet’s bill should be killed and voters should remember his assaults on basic constitutional protections in November.


  1. Life and Liberty says:

    I have no problem with the ability of the state to take DNA from a convicted felon. They have had their rights to liberty
    and property revoked or suspended.
    Up and TO that point, the state should absolutely protect the rights of the accused citizen-
    their very life, liberty, and property are at risk and under assault, and, under the 6th amendment, have special priveledges
    under the constitution

    This bill is a part of a culture of federal mandates painting accusers ans victims and assigning special priveledges to them while
    painting the held and charged citizen as a criminal. And, based on the recent Supreme Ct no-decision in the case of Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, the prosecution needs no more help and encouragement!

  2. With Republicans in charge, it won’t be long til we have to surrender our DNA to the state PRIOR to any charges. Fortunately the Fox News anchors on the telescreens will explain it to us, along with the fact that we’ve always been at war with Eurasia.

  3. Does anyone know of a site that lists the rights that foreign terrorist have taken from us compared to the rights that the real domestic terrorist our own government has taken from us since 9-11?

    Reminder for those that need it:
    Bill of Rights, Amendment IV
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I think TSA owes me at least 5 lighters, some shampoo, cork screw, fingernail clippers, a bottle of wine and Scotch…. I’ll let the other stuff slide.

      • Maybe they’re on to me for my performing random drive by manicures without a license… either way, I was never Mirandized and presented with a warrant that specifically listed the clippers.

        Don’t get me wrong, if a PRIVATELY owned airline company wants to employ their own PRIVATE security to enforce their PRIVATELY owned company’s rules for flying in their PRIVATELY OWNED airplanes… then, so be it. But they should have to compete against other PRVATELY owned airlines that allow such things, including SMOKING and ARMING of their pilots or other employees. And the airlines should be held responsible if their security measures are not sufficient enough to keep their planes from being hijacked and flown into buildings.

        With Freedom comes Responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY!

        With a Constitutional Republic comes LIMITED Government!

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