Brianna's Law

If passed, prospective law SB243, or "Brianna's Law" would allow police to collect DNA samples from people arrested for a felony charge. They would not be voluntary samples; the law would make the surrendering of samples mandatory to all arrested for a felony. The DNA sample would then be registered and be available to law enforcement in investigations for crimes. Upon confirmation of a lesser sentence the DNA along with the proper paperwork and forms will be given to the arrested to ensure them that their sample will be destroyed.

This law has previously died off without a vote in 2011 Legislature as it was not completely constitutional. The proposed law was modified and submitted again in the beginning of the year. The 2013 version of the proposal is said to be more effective to be overall more constitutional, while still serving the intended purpose of getting the DNA. It has taken into consideration the rights of felons, and of those accused. The main people who proposed this Law are the mother and aunt of a Reno rape and murder victim. Bridgette Zunino-Denison and Lauren Denison are hoping to ensure that the children and women of the community are safe, and prevent rapes and murders or innocent women, like Brianna.

Brianna Dennison was a bright Reno teenager who was kidnapped from her friend's apartment only leaving behind a drop of her blood, and unidentified DNA on the couch which she slept on. Dennison was found dead less than a month later. Her kidnapping sparked a large city-wide search for her, and when her body was found the city continued to search, but for her killer. Days before Brianna's body was found, there were garments found with DNA of an unidentified man. An anonymous tip to Secret Witness led to James Biela. Biela was questioned, but denied authorities from obtaining a DNA sample. Biela's girlfriend allowed police to take a DNA sample from their four-year-old son. Biela's DNA was a match to the DNA found on the couch the day of Dennison's disappearance, and was also linked to two previous rapes, and the garments found. Biela was arrested and charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of Brianna Dennison, along with two counts of rape which he had committed previously in 2007. Biela was convicted and sentenced to death.

After passing the Nevada Senate the law must a vote on the Senate floor, then go to committee and floor votes in the Assembly. The Dennison family must then wait for a decision from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court must review these kinds of laws, as collecting DNA samples are a very sensitive legal issue, and could easily be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court looks at all aspects of this proposed law to ensure that all Constitutional rights are being exercised in the collecting of the DNA.

If you are arrested for criminal charges in Reno or Lake Tahoe areas, contact Joey Gilbert Law to discuss your rights. Call(775) 574-4774


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