A few years ago, “Jeffrey Rosen, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, warned: ‘I can guarantee if familial searching proceeds, it will create a political firestorm.'” (1) But familial searching, as it is tendentiously called, prompted no huge political protests when California, Colorado, New York, and Virginia adopted it administratively. Now, legislative initiatives to implement it in various states (2, 3) and federally (4) have begun. However, the proposed legislation is timid, usually authorizing the practice only in murder and sexual assault cases and only after traditional investigative methods have failed.
1. Maura Dolan & Jason Felch, California Takes Lead on DNA Crime-fighting Technique: The State Will Search its Database for Relatives of Unidentified Suspects in Hopes of Developing Leads, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 26, 2008
2. Mike Cook, DNA — It’s All in the Family, Minnesota House of Representatives Session Weekly: News from the House, Apr. 8, 2011
3. Mark Scolforo, DNA Proposal Has Foes: Pa. Bill to Expand its Collection Opposed by the ACLU, Phil. Inquirer, Oct. 2, 2011
4. Press Release, Schiff’s Familial DNA Language Passes as Part of Conference Report, Nov. 21, 2011