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Mass. District Attorneys: Expand DNA, Wiretap Laws

This article is more than 11 years old.

The state's district attorneys are pressing Beacon Hill lawmakers to make key changes to Massachusetts' public safety laws before the end for the formal session in July.

The district attorneys want lawmakers to expand the state's wiretapping laws, which haven't been updated since 1968 — before the advent of cellphones and the Internet.

Prosecutors also want to be able to take DNA swabs of anyone arrested for a felony. Under current state law, DNA samples can only be taken after a conviction.

Under their proposal, DNA samples taken at the time of arrest could be used for other investigations, but wouldn't be entered into the FBI's database until after a conviction.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley says because the current law allows felons up to a year to submit DNA samples, there are over 25,000 who have not submitted their DNA to the system.

"Right after the conviction they ought to go right to the probation department and have [the] inside of their cheek swabbed," Conley said. "Let's get that sample right now, right away, and get it into the system."

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to hammer out a compromise version of separate crime bills already approved by each chamber.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on March 28, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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