A bill introduced by Democratic State Representative Dan Pabon would have those convicted of misdemeanors sit for DNA collection. Pabon told the Denver Post that “…DNA is the 21st century fingerprint.” However, the proposed law stretches too far by targeting all misdemeanors.
In Colorado, those convicted of felonies and sexual crimes are required to submit DNA samples. This makes sense. All misdemeanors? Not so much. Following media ridicule, Pabon told Post reporter Kurtis Lee that he would amend the bill to include only class one misdemeanors. But, does the bill still go too far?
Here are a few examples from the Colorado.gov web site of class one misdemeanors. We’ll admit, we picked the most ridiculous examples, but remember – being convicted of these crimes is enough to get you swabbed.
- Keep your knives to yourself: Unlawful butchering of another’s animals
- So, that national registry will now include DNA?: Violation of any of the provision of section 12-26.1-101 regarding background checks at gun shows
- Call Kinkos: Failure of a gun show promoter to post notice setting forth the requirement for background checks
- Just swab every college student: Selling, serving, giving away, disposing of, exchanging, or delivering or permitting the sale, serving, giving, or procurement of any alcohol beverage to or for any person under the age of 21 years
- Taxman cometh: Failure to pay tax due pursuant to the Colorado Limited Gaming Act within 30 days after the due date
- What’s in those baked beans again? Theft of trade secret
- Not for distribution: Operating an audiovisual recording device in a motion picture theater for the purpose of recording a motion picture and without the consent of the motion picture’s owner or lessor
- Red Rocks woes: Unlawful recording of a live performance
- Paging Alan Franklin’s Twitter account:Wholesale promotion of obscenity
- Paging Mayor Hancock: Patronizing a prostitute for a third or subsequent violation
- Just swab the dog: Ownership of a dangerous dog when the dog inflicts serious bodily injury to another person
- Keep your horse tranquilizers to yourself:Tampering or drugging of livestock
For the record, we’re not advocating breaking the law or even minimizing these crimes, but requiring a DNA sample for not paying taxes in a timely manner or giving your underage fraternity brother alcohol seems a bit excessive.
Even the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado agrees. Its public policy director Denise Maes offered this quote to the Denver Post:
“This encroaches on an individual’s privacy. Further, listen carefully to the rationale supporting this bill: ‘Collecting DNA helps solve crime.’ There is no end to this mission. One may facetiously say ‘just chip us at birth,’ but in reality this is precisely where the rationale of the proponents naturally leads us to.”
She’s right – this does encroach on privacy. When the Peak is in agreement with the ACLU and the apocalypse hasn’t rained down upon us, it might be time to rethink your bill, Rep. Pabon.