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CRIMINAL DNA DATABANK STATUTES AND MEDICAL RESEARCH

Davina Dana Bressler
Jurimetrics
Vol. 43, No. 1 (FALL 2002), pp. 51-78
Published by: American Bar Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29762792
Page Count: 28
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CRIMINAL DNA DATABANK STATUTES AND MEDICAL RESEARCH
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Abstract

Every state and the federal government collects DNA from convicted individuals for certain crimes. Furthermore, most states participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Combined DNA Identification System, which allows states to share criminal DNA records for solving crimes. Some commentators claim that the statutes that authorize this practice also would allow the government to use criminal DNA samples or records in medical or behavioral research. A careful reading of the statutes reveals that these assertions are either wrong or exaggerated. Only one state allows for medical research with records, and no state allows medical or behavioral research with DNA samples. This note explains that the DNA samples, not the DNA records, are needed in order to conduct medical or behavioral research. Moreover, this note shows that the statutory phrases "law enforcement purposes," "other humanitarian purposes," and "research" into quality control or protocol probably do not authorize medical or behavioral research.

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