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Colorado Could Soon Collect DNA Samples For A Long List Of Misdemeanors

Stuart Caie
Creative Commons/Flickr

An expansion of DNA collection for people convicted of certain misdemeanors in Colorado is moving ahead at the Capitol, despite concerns from some lawmakers.

The bill passed the House Judiciary CommitteeThursday on a 9-2 vote, with several lawmakers cautioning that they might change their votes later. 

The bill’s Democratic sponsor, Dan Pabon, says some criminals who get away with murder and assault also commit lesser offenses, and getting their DNA could help solve cold cases.

Opponents are concerned about privacy issues, and say the Class 1 misdemeanor category is too broad.

That got some of us in the newsroom curious about what’s on that list of crimes that could lead to a DNA cheek swab.

It’s a 13-page list [.pdf], for starters. The usual suspects are all there – assault, forgery, possession of an unlawful weapon, providing alcohol to teenagers, and similar offenses.

The list of offenses also contains a few head-scratchers…

  • Unlawful butchering of another’s animals
  • Violation of any unspecified provision of the Farm Products Act (how would you know?)
  • Violating "any of the provisions regarding the prohibition against toughperson fighting in Colorado."

The list also includes activities like "unlawful recording of a live performance," which is a bit vague but could potentially ensnare concert-goers who record snippets of a live show with cell phones and then post them online, for example.

Read the complete list [.pdf] of Class 1 misdemeanors here.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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