Contact: Carmen M. Bingham
Feb. 10, 2015
914 Capitol Street
Richmond, VA 23218
RICHMOND – A bill designed to expand the DNA database to include those convicted of major misdemeanor offenses cleared the House of Delegates on Tuesday by a 72-27 vote. The measure, a joint effort by Delegates David J. Toscano (D-57) and Robert B. Bell (R-58) was proposed in response to the Hannah Graham tragedy in Charlottesville late last fall.
“If this bill had been on the books several years ago,” said Toscano, “it is possible that Jesse Matthew may not have met Hannah Graham that night.” The bill will authorize police to take DNA samples of persons convicted of Class I misdemeanors:
- 16.1-253.2 Violation of protective order
- 18.2-60.3 Stalking
- 18.2-60.4 Violation of protective order; penalty
- 18.2-67.4 Sexual battery
- 18.2-67.4:1 Infected sexual battery
- 18.2-67.4:2 Sexual abuse of a child under 15/over 13
- 18.2-67.5 Attempted rape
- 18.2-102 Unauthorized use of an animal, aircraft, vehicle or boat (valued under $200)
- 18.2-121 Entering property for purpose of damaging property
- 18.2-130 Peeping
- 18.2-370.6 Penetration of mouth of child with lascivious intent
- 18.2-387 Indecent exposure
- 18.2-387.1 Obscene sexual display; penalty
- 18.2-479.1 Resisting arrest; fleeing from law enforcement
The DNA collected would be sent to a central criminal database, which can be used to convict assailants of serious crimes and exonerate those who were improperly charged. The list of misdemeanors to which DNA tests would be applied does not include traffic offenses or juvenile offenses.
The bill was the brain child of Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding and enjoyed the support of Gil Harrington, the mother of former Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington, who was abducted and murdered several years ago. A similar bill proposed by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26) has cleared the Senate.