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Monday, January 25, 2010 - 9:12am

Mandatory DNA Testing For Felonies Pushed in Georgia

A group of parents whose daughters were killed in violent crimes is pushing for mandatory DNA sampling for those arrested on felony charges in Georgia. They say it would solve murders and keep people save.

21 states already have laws requiring DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony. Joan Berry is with the Surviving Parents Coalition. Her Daughter Johnia was killed while a student at the University of Tennessee.

3 years ago Berry pushed the law in that state.

"The Johnia Berry Act was passed in Tennessee and that same year an arrest was made due to a DNA match, so Jonia's murderer was finally found," she says.

In Georgia, the law would have the same name in Georgia. It is sponsored by State Representative Rob Teihet, a democrat who is also running for Attonrey General. Teilhet says he has bi partisan support.

Teilhet says he knows that the state budget is lean and the GBI already has trouble keeping up with current DNA tests.

"There is a backlog now," he says. " One of the things we as a state have to do is simply decide that, consistent with our values, this is a priority."

Teilhet is also a candidate for Attoney General. At a news conference he presented Data showing that almost 130 crimes could have been prevented in 3 states if DNA had been collected.

Teilhet says he will introduce the legislation later this week and he says he's aware that privacy advocates may take issue with mandatory testing. He says law enforcement likes it as an additional crime fighting tool.

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