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State Court: Use Of Force To Get DNA Sample OK

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Prison officials can use reasonable force to take DNA samples from convicted felons who refuse to provide them, Connecticut’s second-highest court ruled Monday.

State law requires all convicted felons to provide DNA samples, but it does not specifically say officials can use force. The state Appellate Court upheld rulings by Superior Court Judge Edward J. Mullarkey, who said barring the use of force would undermine the law.

The Appellate Court agreed with Mullarkey that “prohibiting the state from using reasonable force would permit a felon to avoid his or her obligation to provide a DNA sample and thus frustrate the legislature’s goal of creating a DNA data bank to assist in future criminal investigations.”

The ruling came in the appeals of two inmates, Mark Banks and Roosevelt Drakes, who challenged the state’s authority to take their DNA samples by force. Because Mullarkey stayed his rulings pending the appeal process, officials haven’t yet taken DNA from Banks and Drakes.

It’s not clear if Banks and Drakes intend to take their cases to the state Supreme Court. A message seeking comment was left for their attorney.

Banks, 49, formerly of Bristol, is serving up to 34 years in prison on kidnapping, robbery and other convictions. Drakes, 34, formerly of Hartford, is serving a 30-year sentence for killing a 17-year-old boy near a middle school in Hartford.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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