Oklahoma’s Big Push for Your DNA – Bill to Be Heard Today – Your Voice Needed Now

Oklahoman Kaye Beach is the heroine of this story. No need for my rhetoric, other than to say I wasn’t as strong as Ms. Beach. When Oklahoma demanded my fingerprints for the first time to renew my driver’s license, I submitted. Kaye Beach did not. The following is from Kaye today on Facebook as a Republican State Senator has introduced legislation for expanded DNA testing. Your voice is need NOW via email, Twitter, Facebook and phone (see contact info below). Following today’s message is a portion of Kaye’s personal story and please note that the federal government is sending money to the states to join this program against your privacy. See an UPDATE from Kaye below, 3-11-13 @ 9:57 pm CDT.

Biometrics

Biometrics

From Kaye Beach, Facebook March 11, 2011 (Items in brackets [ ] are my comments and bold and green text is mine):

Senate Bill 618 by Sen Clark Jolly [R] [Jolley] would require anyone arrested for a felony crime and certain misdemeanors be forced to submit a DNA sample that will be included in the federal DNA database. (See page 26 for a listing of qualifying offenses)

SB618 is scheduled to be heard TODAY in the Senate

Please contact your Senators NOW and ask that they VOTE NO! on SB618!
Senate contact info http://www.oksenate.gov/Senators/Default.aspx?selectedtab=0

Tell them that the presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of our justice system and that DNA sampling pre-conviction is a warrantless search. If there is a good reason to take an arrestee’s DNA, the police can already do so!

The inventor of forensic DNA testing, Dr Alec Jeffreys the inventor of DNA testing cautions that the more samples we collect, the higher the incidence of false matches will be.

Remind your Senators that humans are always the weakest link in the chain and that crime labs, including Oklahoma’s crime labs, continue to produce scandal after scandal that have wrongly convicted innocent people.

e-mail block. Use bcc and send out one e-mail;

aldridge@oksenate.gov, allen@oksenate.gov, anderson@oksenate.gov, ballenger@oksenate.gov, barrington@oksenate.gov, bass@oksenate.gov, bingman@oksenate.gov, boggs@oksenate.gov, branan@oksenate.gov, brecheen@oksenate.gov, brinkley@oksenate.gov, brooks@oksenate.gov, brownb@oksenate.gov, burrage@oksenate.gov, coates@oksenate.gov, crain@oksenate.gov, dahm@oksenate.gov, david@oksenate.gov, ellis@oksenate.gov, efields@oksenate.gov, fordj@oksenate.gov, garrisone@oksenate.gov, griffin@oksenate.gov, halligan@oksenate.gov, holt@oksenate.gov, ivester@oksenate.gov, johnsonc@oksenate.gov, johnsonr@oksenate.gov, jolley@oksenate.gov, justice@oksenate.gov, loveless@oksenate.gov, marlatt@oksenate.gov, mazzei@oksenate.gov, mcaffrey@oksenate.gov, newberry@oksenate.gov, paddack@oksenate.gov, schulz@oksenate.gov, sharp@oksenate.gov, shaw@oksenate.gov, shortey@oksenate.gov, shumate@oksenate.gov, simpson@oksenate.gov, sparks@oksenate.gov, standridge@oksenate.gov, stanislawski@oksenate.gov, lewis@oksenate.gov, treat@oksenate.gov, wyrick@oksenate.gov,

Oklahoma has resisted such an expansion of the DNA database before but it looks like the pressure is on now. In Dec. 2012 the US Congress passed and the president signed into law a measure (H.R.614)that provides federal funding for incentives to the states states who expand their DNA sampling laws to include those merely arrested rather than convicted of certain crimes.

Oklahoma state legislators must decide if our state wants to go after the carrot being dangled by the federal government and venture down this ever widening path of sampling and databanking more and more of our DNA.

The idea behind including DNA profiles from arrestees is that the more people entered into the national DNA database, the more crimes that could be solved. Following that logic, where exactly should we draw the line on forcing innocent people to submit their genetic information to the government to continuously troll through for suspects?

Here is a clue.

North Carolina passed such a bill back in 2010 when one enthusiastic legislator stated that “the problem with this bill is that it doesn’t go far enough.” and then went on to explain that we already take blood from every newborn and it would be a good idea the government just went ahead and took the baby’s DNA and automatically include their profiles in the DNA database as well.

If we don’t draw that line based on respect for the individuals legal and natural rights, the alternative is just such utilitarian policies where all must have their DNA registered with the government. Are we really ready to forget our legal tradition of ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

And lets not make the assumption that DNA comparisons are all they are cracked up to be on TV either. It isn’t. There are many, many recent incidents of lab error, mishandling and malfeasance and these scandals effect real peoples lives.

Oklahoma Crime Lab Scandal – Joyce Gilchrist

2010- Errors lead to firing of OSBI DNA analyst
An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation DNA analyst was fired last month after an internal review of her case work revealed multiple instances of sample contamination, sample handling errors and documentation mistakes, has confirmed.

DNA lab error sent innocent 19-year-old to jail for months

DNA lab error led to false conviction

Las Vegas police reveal DNA error put wrong man in prison

Crime Lab Scandal Rocks Massachusetts

New York Examines Over 800 Rape Cases for Possible Mishandling of Evidence

The birthday paradox and biometrics: There are risks to expanding the DNA database. The birthday paradox and biometrics, Lockstep Blog; The inventor of forensic DNA testing, Dr Alec Jeffreys, has cautioned that once millions of DNA samples are collected in population databases, false matches rise significantly.(Emphasis mine) DNA testing is not an infallible proof of identity. While Jeffreys’ original technique compared scores of markers to create an individual “fingerprint,” modern commercial DNA profiling compares a number of genetic markers – often 5 or 10 – to calculate a likelihood that the sample belongs to a given individual. Jeffreys estimates the probability of two individuals’ DNA profiles matching in the most commonly used tests at between one in a billion or one in a trillion, “which sounds very good indeed until you start thinking about large DNA databases.” In a database of 2.5 million people, a one-in-a-billion probability becomes a one-in-400 chance of at least one match. Read it here.

 

Kaye Beach

Kaye Beach

The following is an article about Kaye printed in the Pauls Valley Daily, July 29, 2011:

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — State Rep. Charles Key issued the following statement today and was joined by other legislators:

“Why is a traffic court case of importance to all Oklahomans? Kaye Beach is challenging the lawfulness of the collection of her biometrics and other personal information as a requirement to acquire a state driver’s license. Biometrics is defined as measurements of the body. Examples of biometrics include fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition and DNA.

“Kaye attempted to renew her driver’s license but was denied. She was later cited for driving with an expired driver’s license. She again attempted to renew her license but was denied. On July 21, 2011, Kaye’s citation was dismissed after her attorneys, Ben Sisney and Jon Echols of the law firm Echols and Associates, presented her case to the Norman City Attorney’s office. Sisney and Echols expressed appreciation for the time and consideration provided by the Assistant City Attorney.

“The dismissal of Kaye’s criminal charge is not the end of the story. Rather, this is the beginning of what is expected to be a robust legal journey through the Oklahoma court system. Kaye plans to file a civil suit which could potentially ensure that not just Kaye’s rights, but the rights of all Oklahomans, are protected.

“In past legislative sessions, bills have been offered that would have served to protect all Oklahoma citizens from the unwarranted collection and sharing of their personal and biometric information – but that legislation was not permitted to be heard even in committee. Additional legislation that would have specifically protected the religious rights of Christians actually passed in one chamber only to be prevented from being heard in the other chamber. This “Biometric Religious Exemption” legislation, which was supported by members of both political parties, made it all the way to a conference committee only to be quashed by former Speaker Benge who independently made the decision not to allow the legislation to progress. The biometric religious exemption bill would have allowed Christians to opt out of being enrolled into a single global system of identification that directly links a person’s body to their ability to buy, sell and travel.

“The situation in the Oklahoma State Legislature is such that a powerful few, such as a committee chairman or the Speaker, can decide the fate of a bill denying constituents proper representation. If your state lawmaker is not in a leadership position, their ability to introduce and have legislation passed is unfairly hindered. We remain hopeful that current leadership with the support of the people and state legislators will end the practice of a few making decisions for all. Oklahomans should join other states that require bills be heard at the authors’ request.

“It is a sad day when an Oklahoman must take individual legal action to protect her God given rights. While I do not encourage other Oklahomans to take such action, I think it is justified in this case and I support Kaye Beach one hundred percent.”

I do not know the latest status of Kaye and her driver’s license, but will work on getting the answer and post it here. God Bless Kaye Beach for being a Liberty Warrior. My email has been sent. Send yours now along and use Twitter and Facebook if available to you.

UPDATE 3-11-13 @ 9:57 pm CDT: I asked Kaye what her status is today with her driver’s license. She is still battling the State of Oklahoma and more specifically the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety:

After the case was dismissed in Norman city court, I filed suit against the state of OK. here is a bit more info; Following my resolve to not be voluntarily entered into a biometric identification system, I asked the state for a non-biometric license to accommodate me based on my sincerely held religious beliefs. My request was flatly refused.

This left me little choice but to forgo renewing my license. Eventually, I was ticketed for driving without a valid license. I hired an excellent lawyer, Ben Sisney of Echols and Associates in OKC, to represent me. That case was dismissed by the Norman City Attorney. But that really left me in the same fix I was in before; without a valid license and unwilling to trade my principles for convenience.

I had no choice but to take the case to the next level and that is to sue the state for the violation of my rights.

My legal situation garnered the attention of the respected Rutherford Institute, one of the nation’s leading advocates of civil liberties and human rights founded by constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead signed on to my case along with Mr. Sisney and they filed a lawsuit on my behalf against the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

Two Causes Action

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act Acticle 2 Sec. 30 of the Oklahoma Constitution which is essentially the same as the US 4th Amendment and perhaps even a bit stronger.

Mandatory biometric enrollment is a violation of my sincerely held religious beliefs and it also violates my right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure of my personal data.

When I have more, I’ll post it here.

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