DNA testing expansion bill introduced

Photo: DNA testing bill, Lawrence, Pabon, Morrissey
GOP state Rep. Polly Lawrence, left, places a swab of Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon's DNA into an envelope, as Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, at right, looks on. Similar DNA tests would be done for several new misdemeanor criminals if their co-sponsored bill is passed into law.

A bill expanding when DNA testing is required has been introduced in the Colorado House. It would add a series of misdemeanor crimes to that list, including theft, child abuse, harassment, and menacing.

Sate Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, says the bill would help police solve crimes. He adds that someone's DNA would be added to the database only after a conviction.

"They have to go before a jury of their peers, be found beyond a reasonable doubt that they have in fact committed these crimes, or actually they have to plead guilty to these crimes, before their DNA can be connected," he said.

Funding for the DNA tests will come from surcharges as part of the conviction process. A similar bill failed at the Capitol two years ago. Current law only requires a DNA test for a misdemeanor crime involving unlawful sexual contact.