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Should Cops Ask Parent Permission Before Taking DNA Samples?

Authorities have collected DNA samples from local students while investigating Jessica Funk-Haslam's killing.

When detectives take DNA samples from minors, should parents have to give persmission?

That's the question at least one parent wants answered, according to Fox 40.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department investigators took DNA samples from Albert Einstein Middle School students last week while investigating the killing of Jessica Funk-Haslam, Fox 40 reported.

Parent Michaela Brown told Rosemont Patch she thinks parents or attorneys should have been present while DNA samples were being taken.

A legal analyst told Fox 40 that's not the case.

"Ideally, you'd want the juvenile's parents or legal guardian there, but the police don't have to have them there to take a DNA swab," Ken Rosenfeld told the station.

Sheriff's department spokesman Dep. Jason Ramos told the station the department doesn't require parental consent.

Rosemont, what do you think? If investigators took DNA samples from your kids, would you want to be asked for permission?

tmg April 18, 2012 at 02:40 AM
No, I don't think the parent has to be asked. I think the the students want to help solve the murder of their fellow student and friend. They themselves are probably a little scared that they have not found the person who took their friend's life. Maybe this parent's child has been in trouble before and she is afraid of what will become known about them from their prior actions. If the students consent: Hurray for them!
PAB April 18, 2012 at 01:28 PM
If a DNA swab was being asked for or collected from an adult the sherrif would need either consent or a warrant. Children cannot legally consent that choice should have been left up to their parents. If by chance the cops had warrants than courtesy and decency and some old fashioned reason would say at least tell the parents ahead of time and give them the option to be present. Can you imagine the fear caused by being considered a murder suspect as an adult let alone a middle schooler?
GWEN WIZNER April 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I agree with PAB... I think it is necessary and another step towards solving this crime but we all know that sometimes the authorities have bungled these things and I would want to be there for my child.. just think it would keep things on the up and up... sometimes solving a crime because of the pressure from public etc things happen so if my child i would want to be there.. but would encourage my child to do this to help that young victim and her family.
Teresa Savage April 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Yes, I think they should. I feel that parents are held responsible for our minor children for anything they do wrong, yet when there is a crime committed automatically the minor's parents have no rights to know what is going on? Why is it that they treat adults who commit crimes better than minors? I would want to know if my children are being accused or suspected of a crime so I could be there to make sure their rights are respected or in a serious offense hire an attorney as a last resort. I know because I was a scared parent when I went to school to pick up my child and I couldn't find my child. I searched everywhere frantically and finally after 30 minutes went into the office and asked about the whereabouts of my child. I was informed that my child was arrested hours earlier yet never notified! Then going over to the juvenile hall and being told they did not have my child! It was over two hours of me searching for my child before I found my child's whereabouts! My child was arrested and not released until after the court hearing where my child was released due to a misjustice done where no crime was actually committed! A nightmare for us all for 5 days! Just thought parents should be aware! There are no rights for parents once a child is arrested! Parents NEED to be notified!
Cindy Enriquez April 18, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I agree with TMG....I don't think the parent has to be notified! We are trying to find a killer that's still on the loose. If these kids have nothing to hide then let law enforcement do what they have to do. If it was my kid yeah I'd wanna know, but if I didn't find out in time then oh well. I'm sure it is pretty scary for these young kids, but have we thought about how Jessica felt? I just hope the killer is found and soon.
Michael Proctor April 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Legaly, I beleave that a minor cannot be questioned by the police without a parent/guardian/attourney present. Because they are below the age of consent any information gathered from them would be thrown out. However, It is aparently different for gathering a DNA sample. As long as the police had a warrant I guess they could legaly gather evidence. If the DNA swab was voluntary, then they should have to have someone present.
Caroline Hardy April 18, 2012 at 06:42 PM
This same thing happened to us 3 years ago! My son was pulled from school and told they just wanted to ask him some questions. They took him to the police station and grilled him for a couple hours, then had a lady (victim) come to the police station and asked her if was the "one". The victim said (my son) was a little taller than she remembered the suspect being and they kept asking her until she finally said (my son) was the suspect. He was booked into juvenile hall. We were not notified until after he was questioned, arrested and booked. When the detectives came to our house to tell us, we asked for help and they said there's nothing they could do. They offered no assistance to us and made us feel as if we were not worthy of them looking any farther to find the "real" criminal. In their minds they had found their guy. My son was held in juvenile hall for a month, then subjected to over 2 years of going back and forth to court. The charges were finally dismissed due to lack of evidence (which was no evidence), but it still shows up on his record. This situation has made me not trust our police at all!! I totally sympathize with you!
Caroline Hardy April 18, 2012 at 06:47 PM
ABSOLUTELY The parents need to be notified. My son was one of the students tested at Rosemont high school and we were not notified that they were administering the test. Matter of fact, the principal wasn't aware the detectives were testing our kids either. We need to be notified. If the detectives were upfront and honest about what they need, parents wouldn't be in such an uproar. My family is more than willing to help in any way we can, but we should still be notified. I want justice for Jessica and her family as much as anyone as I live in this community and am fearful for my children too!
Cody Kitaura (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Folks, how old do you think someone should be before they're old enough to give consent for something like this? What if the authorities had been taking DNA swabs at an elementary school? Would that be different?
Cody Kitaura (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Hi all, Bee columnist Foon Rhee brought this up today: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4425032/foon-rhee-in-hunt-for-killer-dont.html "The presumption of innocence and our privacy are worth protecting. If they fall by the wayside because it's a high-profile case, what lesson does that teach the students as they're having their cheeks swabbed?" What do you folks think of what he wrote?
Teresa Savage April 20, 2012 at 06:48 AM
A minor is a minor! Until they are 18. I am not saying that I would by any means be a parent obstructing justice, but just being present for my child. I still want justice for Jessica. Elementary school is for sure too young for any police officer to want DNA taken from a child without prior consent or presence of their parent/guardian. For all you out there that have no children, or your children are still young, I am sure your opinions will change when your child becomes an adolescent. Love them or hate them you still are the Mama Bear!
JDOM April 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM
All I have to say is " what if it was your child"
Brad April 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM
That's an interesting question, can you clarify? Do you mean the child who is being questioned (not accused, by the way), or the one who is dead? I believe that most parents naturally want to protect their children, as they should, but I also think that most parents would stop at nothing to find the killer of their child and bring them to justice. Which would any of us be in either situation? But frankly, by now most parents should be aware that detectives are talking to kids in the neighborhood, and likely will continue to. I'd recommend just telling them it is a possibility, and just be honest with investigators. Make them aware, but also have a little faith in them, it's not like your kids aren't already talking about this case. At the moment, I'd say this whole thing has hit them far harder than their parents. If someone chooses to not consent, so be it, but I wouldn't expect those who deny samples to the authorities to be excluded from the investigation in the future.
MH April 23, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I think if your child is innocent you have nothing to worry about. If they would have asked permission then your child would have conveniently not been at school that day. Some parent knows way more than they are letting on. I really hope they solve this--I would look at the NEW group of friends she was hanging out with.

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