DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000

The DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (H.R. 4640, 42 U.S.C. 14135 et seq.) is a United States Act of Congress that primarily allows U.S. States to carry out DNA analyses for use in the FBI's Combined DNA Index System and to collect and analyse DNA samples.

Under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14132, "Congress authorized the FBI to create a national index of samples taken from convicted offenders, crime scenes and victims of crime, and unidentified human remains." In response to this congressional mandate, the FBI established the Combined DNA Index System ("CODIS"). The CODIS database provides a means for State and local forensic laboratories to share DNA profiles in an attempt to "link evidence from crime scenes for which there are no suspects to DNA samples of convicted offenders on file in the system." However, the 1994 Act was interpreted by the FBI to only permit the creation of the CODIS, not the taking of DNA samples of persons convicted of federal offenses for input into the system. Thus, "the FBI requested that Congress enact statutory authority to allow the taking of DNA samples from persons committing Federal crimes of violence, robbery, and burglary, or similar crimes in the District of Columbia or while in the military, and authorizing them to be included in CODIS."

Accordingly, Congress passed the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 ("DNA Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 14135 et seq., which authorizes the "Attorney General to make grants to eligible States . . . to carry out, for the inclusion in the Combined DNA Index System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DNA analyses of samples taken from individuals convicted of a qualifying State offenses." 42 U.S.C. § 14135(a)(1). Moreover, the DNA Act provides that "the Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall collect a DNA sample from each individual in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is, or has been, convicted of a qualifying Federal offense" and that "the probation office responsible for the supervision under Federal law of an individual on probation, parole, or supervised release shall collect a DNA sample from each such individual who is or has been, convicted of a qualifying Federal offense." 42 U.S.C. § 15135a(a)(1)-(2). In addition, Congress has mandated the collection of DNA samples from "each individual in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is, or has been convicted of a qualifying District of Columbia offense" or any "individual under the supervision of the Agency who is on supervised release, parole, or probation who is, or has been convicted of a qualifying District of Columbia offense." 42 U.S.C. § 14135b(a)(1)-(2). Congress left to the District of Columbia the responsibility of determining which offenses under the District of Columbia Code should be deemed qualifying offenses. 42 U.S.C. § 14135b(d). The District of Columbia has determined that forty-nine separate offense qualify for collection under the DNA Act. See, D.C. Code § 22-4151(1)-(46). These qualifying offense include, for example, arson, aggravated assault, burglary, kidnaping, robbery, attempted robber and carjacking. Id.

Once a DNA sample is entered into the CODIS database, the information can only be released (1) "to criminal justice agencies for law enforcement identification purposes;" (2) "in judicial proceedings;" (3) "for criminal defense purposes, to a defendant, who shall have access to samples and analyses performed in connection with the case in which such defendant is charged;" or (4) "if personally identifiable information is removed, for a population statistics database, for identification research and protocol development purposes, or for quality control purposes." 42 U.S.C. § 14132(b)(3). In addition, the DNA Act imposes criminal penalties for individuals who improperly disclose sample results or improperly obtains or uses DNA samples. 42 U.S.C. § 14135e(c).

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