Arrested in O.C.? A DNA sample could buy freedom

Guilty or not, people arrested can avoid the hassle of court if they give their DNA sample to the district attorney. The program raises privacy and equity concerns among legal scholars.

Orange County, which already has one of the nation’s most aggressive programs for taking DNA samples from convicts, has quietly begun offering a deal to some people who have only been arrested: give a DNA sample and have your charges dropped.

The district attorney’s office, which runs its own database, has started expanding its program by handling some cases “informally,” Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas told the Board of Supervisors this week. In those cases, if a person who has been arrested agrees to give a DNA sample, “we would not even file” charges.

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