Nevada Attorney General: All inmates must provide DNA samples under state law

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The Attorney General’s office has issued an opinion saying state statutes require DNA samples be collected from all prison inmates convicted of a felony no matter when the conviction happened.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brett Kandt said the law must be applied retroactively to include inmates even if they were in prison for years before that statute was passed. But the statute limits the collection of specimens to inmates who are currently in the prison system, not those whose term expired.

The opinion was issued in response to a request by Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks. The 2013 law requires a DNA specimen be collected from all persons arrested for a felony.

“If the person is convicted of the felony, the biological specimen must be kept but if the person is not convicted the biological specimen must be destroyed and all records relating thereto must be purged from all databases,” the opinion states.

He said the Attorney General’s office issued an opinion in 1996 stating “in the absence of any clear statement of legislative intent, that (the statute) apply retroactively, the statute had prospective application only.”

Kandt wrote this particular statute says the requirements apply to inmates convicted “before, on or after July 1, 2014.”

That will increase the number of DNA tests that are pending in Nevada.

The legislative Interim Finance Committee was told this week there still was a backlog of more than 6,000 rape kits that need to be tested in Nevada, some dating back more than 20 years.


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