Expand DNA Collection Law, Ark. Legislators Urged

Little Rock -- An advocate for expanded DNA collection for all felony arrests says Arkansas' current law doesn't go far enough.

Jayann Sepich, founder of DNASaves.org, testifies around the country pushing for states to adopt or expand DNA collection upon arrest of all felony crimes.

Arkansas currently collects DNA after someone is arrested for violent crimes, including sexual assault.

Senator Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, says he plans to sponsor legislation in the 2015 session to expand the DNA collection to arrests for non-violent felonies including burglary and drug possession.

"I think it's demonstrated that it's safe, it doesn't violate one's personal information," Ingram says.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that DNA collection laws do not constitute a violation of the 4th amendment against unreasonable search and seizure.

Arkansas' statute passed in 2009, called Juli's Law, after Benton native Juli Busken.

Busken was murdered in Norman, Oklahoma while attending Oklahoma University in 1996. A DNA match led to the conviction of her killer in 2006.

Her parents Bud and Mary Jean Busken attended the judiciary committee hearing on Thursday.

"Sitting there and going through it all again and seeing Juli's picture up there, just brings it all back," Mary Jean Busken says. "We hope that our Arkansas representatives are listening with all their ears right now."

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