DNA Argument in Prisons


Police, prison system at odds over DNA

Musk prisoners refused DNA testing

  • By Ken Kolker

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) – They included men convicted of murder, sexual assault, home invasion and drug dealing — the 118 state prisoners who had refused to take DNA tests.

They are at the center of a dispute between police and the state prison system over a state law that requires all prisoners to provide their DNA.

“It baffles me why the Department of Corrections set up a policy to allow the inmates to have control over whether they’re tested or not,” Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague told 24 Hour News 8.

Tague authorized search warrants that allowed state police, working with corrections officers, to get DNA samples — swabs from inside their cheeks — from 118 prisoners in the West Shoreline Correctional Facility and the Ernest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, both in Muskegon Heights.

Police were forced to hold down six prisoners who fought them, Tague said.

State police say as many as 6,000 inmates in prisons across the state have refused to take the tests.

“I am convinced that if we do the 6,000 inmates, we will solve numerous brutal serious crimes across the state,” Tague said.

The dispute is over the law that requires DNA samples. Tague says state law is on his side. Prison officials disagree.

“If we changed a simple policy within the Department of Corrections, we could avoid releasing people who have been involved in serious crimes,” Tague said.

Among examples cited by Tague and police:

Mark Ball, whose DNA was taken at his release from prison, linking him to the 1998 rape of a 13-year-old girl in Kentwood. He had broken into her home and raped her as her family slept. He’s now serving 40 to 100 years in prison.

Rodrigo Hernandes, whose DNA was taken as he was released from prison in February 2002. It linked him months later to the 1994 rape and murder of a woman whose body was found stuffed in a 55-gallon drum in San Antonia, Texas, and to the 1991 murder of a homeless woman, Muriel Stoepker, in Grand Rapids.

“Had we had that sample, he would have never been released, so we had a double murderer on the streets of our community for six months who’s now on death row in Texas,” Tague said.

And, there was the case of Nicholas Brasic, a suspected serial killer who died in a Michigan prison and was buried before the state could get his DNA. The Kent Metro Cold Case Team exhumed his body last summer. So far, DNA hasn’t linked him to any other cases.

Today, prison officials told 24 Hour News 8 that Tague and the State Police are mis-reading the law. They say the Attorney General has told prison officials that prisoners are allowed to refuse DNA tests, until just before they’re released.

“It’s not a simple policy decision,” Prison spokesman Russ Marlan said. “If it was, we would have changed the policy and taken these tests by force.”

State prison officials say they are working with state police to change the law.

“We don’t want people to slip through the cracks; we want these tests to be done earlier,” Marlan said.

Source

Give law enforcement every tool we can to stop criminals.

I get so tired of hearing about the rights of criminals.

Considering many serial criminals are arrested for lesser charges at least  once before or during the time that they are killing DNA testing might stop many with the first, or first few murders.

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