- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) - The sheriff’s department of Minnesota’s third largest county, a suburban area of St. Paul, will resume collecting DNA samples from people who have been charged with certain violent crimes but have not yet been convicted.

The Dakota County sheriff’s office’s move follows a recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that reversed an earlier order to stop the practice. The Supreme Court ruled Jan. 11 that Dakota County District Court exceeded its authority when it stopped Sheriff Tim Leslie and his department from collecting the DNA samples.

In 2015, the department started taking DNA from defendants after a judge made a probable cause determination, the Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/2kahlbW ) reported.

DNA samples taken through a cheek swab are sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis and entry into databases for use in criminal investigations.

The district court order resulted from a road rage incident in which a man was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. His attorney asked a judge to block DNA collection.

Leslie asked the state appeals court to prohibit the district court from enforcing its order. The court denied the petition, saying that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction and didn’t abuse its discretion or commit an error of law in granting the motion.

Dakota County became the first and only county in Minnesota to resume collecting DNA in June 2015. The action was authorized by law in 2005 but stopped a year later after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled it as an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

Leslie said the county had collected 60 DNA samples before being told to stop.

“We believed it was the right thing to do then . and it’s still the right thing to do,” he said.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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