DA to Ask for Renewal of ‘Spit and Acquit’

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is asking the Board of Supervisors today for $1,368,000 to renew its “spit and acquit” DNA processing contract for a third year.

The DA’s program, which has solved just three cases as of March, according to a grand jury report, can’t be used by either state or federal agencies. More recent figures weren’t immediately available.

In March, the DA’s program held about 22,000 DNA samples taken from people arrested for generally low-level crimes like drunken driving, petty theft and some drug possession cases. In exchange for paying a $75 fee and allowing technicians to swab their mouth for a DNA sample, the suspects have the charges against them dropped.

The program began in 2007, and District Attorney’s Office personnel told the grand jury that research showed 80 percent of all crimes are committed by just 8 percent of repeat offenders, making it necessary to collect DNA from a huge number of people.

Federal and state DNA programs collect DNA only from felons and apply other standards that prohibit using the Orange County district attorney’s samples. Those standards are intended to control how the samples are used.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department runs a separate DNA laboratory that works with federal and state labs.

The more than $1.3 million would extend the DA’s contract with Virginia-based Bode Technology Group, Inc., for processing the DNA samples through 2011.



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