Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:
The Norman Transcript, Aug. 5, 2014
DNA from the accused
A planned Oklahoma legislative study on requiring persons accused of crimes to submit DNA samples has its roots in a brutal Norman rape and murder nearly 20 years ago. Lawmakers used the Jewel “Juli” Busken case from Dec. 20, 1996, as evidence of the need for more DNA samples in law enforcement’s database.
Busken, a ballet student at OU, was raped and murdered in December 1996. Her case went unsolved until 2004 when forensic examiners matched DNA from semen stains found on her clothing with Anthony Castillo Sanchez, a convicted burglar who was serving time in a state prison.
Sanchez was convicted in Busken’s murder in 2006 and a Cleveland County jury sentenced him to death. State Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, told the Associated Press, that having more DNA in the database would shorten such investigations.
The Associated Press reports 28 states and the federal government allow taking DNA samples from some defendants accused of crimes. Previous attempts to expand the database in Oklahoma have been turned away after legislators expressed concern about the constitutionality of targeting suspects who have not been found guilty.
Another big concern is what to do with the DNA samples if a person is found innocent or charges are dropped. Rep. Denney said that DNA should not be kept in the state’s database, but civil liberties lawyers say that’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle.
We look for a spirited discussion of the issue in coming months.
The Oklahoman, Aug. 5
BAD ideas live forever at the state Capitol. Such is the case with renewed interest in allowing concealed weapons on Oklahoma’s college campuses.
“Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake and would lead only to tragic results,” OU President David Boren said recently. The Oklahoman archives SARAH PHIPPS - SARAH PHIPPS Higher education leaders have vehemently and consistently opposed this idea. So has The Oklahoman. Far be it from lawmakers to take no for an answer.
Rep. John Enns, R-Enid, Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, are leading an interim study on the issue. They say the state needs to look at “the facts” and at best practices for allowing concealed weapons on campus. We can’t help but wonder why the fact that the higher education community is united in its opposition to this idea is completely ignored.
“Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake and would lead only to tragic results,” University of Oklahoma President David Boren said recently. “To put our university students, faculty and staff at risk in this way makes absolutely no sense.”