Oklahoma law requires people convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors to provide DNA samples, some argue the law encroaches on privacy, but it doesn’t bother most Oklahomans.
In a recent study, SoonerPoll asked likely Oklahoma voters about collection of DNA samples from Oklahomans convicted of misdemeanors and found that 60.3 percent of respondents said they did not think it violated an individual’s right to privacy.
“Whether it is a fingerprint, retinal scan or DNA swab, most Oklahomans don’t see any real difference,” said Dr. Keith Gaddie.
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.
Senate Bill 1102 was passed and signed into law by Governor Brad Henry in May 2009. The bill expanded DNA collecting procedures already in place to include certain misdemeanors and added a provision allowing for sampling of illegal immigrants arrested for any crime.
Henry said the law is a powerful tool law enforcement authorities can use to solve cold cases for crimes such as rape and murder.
Although the law’s proponents saw it as a protection measure, not everyone was so sure. Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City) seemed to speak for the 33.8 percent of Oklahomans who now believe it encroaches on individual’s right to privacy, when he said last year that the bill would create “a real opportunity for abuse.”