The Jan. 18 News article, "Finding telltale signs faster," discussed advances in DNA evidence and its importance in the Bike Path Rapist case. Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said he thinks "the law should require samples from anyone convicted of a misdemeanor."
I think that should be taken a step further and legislation passed that would require DNA samples from anyone charged with a misdemeanor.
If someone is charged with a crime, he is fingerprinted. Why shouldn't a DNA swab be taken at that time? If taking fingerprints isn't a violation of a suspect's rights, why would a DNA sample be? Why do we have to wait until someone is a felon or a serial killer/rapist before his DNA can be taken?
If Altemio Sanchez is indeed the Bike Path Rapist, and DNA had been required when he was charged with patronizing a prostitute in 1991, Majane Mazur and Joan Diver might be alive today and several other women would not have been raped.
It almost seems like criminals have more rights than their victims these days. I think Howard is right -- DNA should be required from at least those convicted of a misdemeanor.
MARY BETH SCIMIA