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O'Malley: DNA Samples Akin to Fingerprints

In Gov. Martin O'Malley's "ideal world," Maryland would take DNA samples as readily from suspected criminals as it now takes fingerprints.

"I think we should," O'Malley (D) said following an appearance at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He added, however, that he has no plans to push for an expansion of a 2008 law on DNA samples passed by the General Assembly.

O'Malley was at the school to talk about that law, which marked the first time Maryland legislators agreed to take DNA samples prior to a criminal conviction. Under the measure -- which was the subject of great debate and compromise -- individuals charged with crimes of violence, certain burglaries and attempts of those crimes are required to provide a DNA sample.

Fingerprints are commonly taken at the time of booking for a far wider range of suspected crimes.

O'Malley was asked about the "ideal world" scenario by a student and later expanded on his answer for reporters. He said he believes that eventually public anxiety and "Orwellian conspiracies" about DNA collection will subside and it will be seen as "very akin to fingerprints."

During his remarks, O'Malley touted the state's use of an expanded DNA database to solve more crimes.

O'Malley's appearance was part of a law and policy series organized by his father-in-law, J. Joseph Curran, Maryland's former attorney general. Katie Curran O'Malley, the governor's wife and district court judge in Baltimore, will appear at a future session to discuss domestic violence.

-- John Wagner

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 9, 2009; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  Governor , John Wagner  
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