N.J. again considers requiring DNA samples of some disorderly persons

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Those convicted of some disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey may be required to provide a DNA sample if a measure under consideration in the Legislature becomes law.

Offenders convicted of domestic violence, drugs or other charges that require fingerprinting would have to give a DNA sample, according to the bill.

It would not apply to shoplifting.

Sen. Nick Sacco said it would be a good tool for law enforcement.

“People who are out there who are violent criminals who may get into a fight with someone in a bar, and it’s only a disorderly person, and we wouldn’t know that there’s a history there,” he said.

But Alexander Shalom with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey said the measure goes too far.

“These are not even crimes,” he said. “But yet we’re going to have people’s sensitive genetic information in a nationwide database forever because they’ve been convicted of perhaps possessing rolling papers?”

Lawmakers passed a similar measure in the previous legislative session, but it did not become law because Gov. Chris Christie failed to act on it.

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