The full Senate has given its approval to a bill supporters say will enable more cold cases to be solved in Oklahoma. Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Lee Denney are the principal authors of HB 2275, which amends current law so that DNA samples could be collected upon arrest for a felony crime. The DNA would be collected through a sample of saliva.
“Right now Oklahoma collects DNA upon conviction for felonies and certain misdemeanors. We’re in the minority of states that don’t do this upon arrest,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “We collect fingerprints upon arrest, but DNA identification is much more accurate. This will enable us to solve crimes as well as cold cases for some of those most heinous crimes in our state and it will also prevent future crimes by making sure the true culprit is behind bars.”
Jolley said the bill requires a person’s DNA information to be expunged from the database if charges are dropped or if the defendant is not bound over for trial after their arraignment. He noted HB 2275 amends Juli’s Law, named for University of Oklahoma ballet student Juli Buskin, whose cold case homicide was finally solved after Oklahoma initially expanded the DNA database.
“This will enable us to solve more crimes like Juli Buskin's and bring more closure to Oklahoma families who are waiting for law enforcement to finally be able to identify the person that murdered their child,” Jolley said.
Denney said the legislation was very important for the state of Oklahoma.
“Especially in the light of us looking at justice reform and the people we lock up. I think we need to be locking up the people we’re scared of,” said Denney, R-Cushing. “DNA, as I’ve always said, will convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.”
HB 2275 now goes to the governor for her consideration.