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News Scan

NC Attorney General Praises Arrest DNA Samples: The Island Gazette reports on a gathering in Chicago hosted by DNA Saves, where North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper told legislators that collecting data via a cheek swab upon arrest, as more than half of the states in the U.S. now do, prevents crime, exonerates the innocent, serves victims, and builds safer communities. N.C. began collecting DNA samples upon arrest from felons after legislative approval in 2011, and more crimes are being considered. The N.C. DNA database consists of 225,000 profiles, and is responsible for solving over 2,100 cases since 1994. Since samples began being collected from arrestees, the database has identified more suspects in the last year than in the previous 11 years combined. If the offender is not convicted or the case gets dismissed, the sample is removed from the database. The U.S. Supreme Court will be assessing the constitutionality of the practice later this year.

Death Penalty Upheld for Inmate who Murdered Correctional Officer: Mary Wisniewski of Reuters headlines reports that the South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Eric Robert, who murdered a state correctional officer with intent during an attempted escape.  Robert plead guilty and waived his right to a jury trial for his sentence.  An accomplice, fellow inmate Rodney Berget, also plead guilty and received a death sentence.  As part of the escape plan, the two inmates hit officer Ronald Johnson in the head with a lead pipe with such force it fractured his skull and exposed part of his brain.  They then wrapped Johnson's head with plastic wrap.  Robert, dressed in the officer's uniform, assaulted another guard before being caught. At the time of the murder Robert was serving an 80-year sentence for kidnapping a young woman.  The court's decision is here.

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