ACLU challenges expansion of Vermont’s DNA databank

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A proposal to expand the state’s DNA database is being questioned by a civil liberties group.

Under the Senate Judiciary Committee’s plan, the state would start collecting genetic samples from people arraigned on felony crimes. The current law only requires DNA samples from people convicted of felonies.

Lawmakers say the change will help protect Vermonters from violent criminals.

But Allen Gilbert, the head of the Vermont American Civil Liberties Union, says that the proposal could violate a person’s right to privacy and put innocent people under surveillance.

He says he is concerned about what happens to the DNA if a person is found not guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor.

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