FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carmen M. Bingham
Jan. 14, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Delegate David J. Toscano (D-57th District) filed a bill that would include several serious Class I misdemeanors to the list of offenses requiring a DNA sample to be submitted by an individual once convicted of the offense. Sheriff J.A. “Chip” Harding of Albemarle County has been a strong proponent of increasing the DNA database believing this would provide law enforcement an effective tool to prevent such tragic events as the death of Hannah Graham.
“I believe if law enforcement obtains DNA for serious convicted misdemeanors, we would triple the databank and get people early in their crime careers,” said Sheriff Harding. “Stopping a repeat offender early could prevent them from going on to commit much more heinous crimes.”
“If there is a way we can prevent another tragedy, then we should do it,” said Toscano. “Law enforcement should have every available tool to ensure our families and communities do not become victims of potential repeat offenders.”
House Bill 1617 would add ninety-nine Class I misdemeanors to the list of offenses that require a convicted offender to provide a DNA sample. Among these Class I misdemeanors are assault and battery, criminal trespass, reckless handling of firearms, maiming, killing or poisoning animals, harassment by computer, impersonating a law enforcement officer, identity theft, credit card fraud, DUI, prostitution, abuse and neglect of incapacitated adults, and indecent exposure. Most traffic offenses are excluded, as are offenses committed by juveniles, with the exception of three misdemeanor sex offenses– sexual battery, attempt to commit sexual battery and peeping. The Daily Progress recently reported on Delegate Toscano’s bill. The story can be found here: tinyurl.com/ToscanoDNA
In addition to these bills, Delegate Toscano has introduced HB2139, a bill that requires reporting of felony criminal sexual assaults at institutions of higher education. Another bill directs institutions of higher education to note on the transcript of a student dismissed from their institution for violation of the institution’s sexual misconduct policy.