Petro says ruling on retroactive DNA sampling jeopardizes database

AKRON, Ohio - A man on probation for a 2002 DUI conviction should not have been forced to submit a DNA sample under an Ohio law enacted last year, a state appeals court ruled.

Attorney General Jim Petro warned that Wednesday's ruling could have "disastrous ramifications" for the state's DNA database, a collection of nearly 130,000 profiles of prisoners and offenders on probation.

Judges in the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Akron said the law cannot be applied retroactively to Craig Consilio, who was placed on three years' community control after serving a six-month sentence. Consilio, 42, pleaded guilty in 2002 to the DUI charge.

The ruling applies only to Consilio, but felons convicted before the law went into effect could use his case as precedent in a challenge of the law, said Phil Bogdanoff, an assistant prosecutor in Summit County.

Patricia Cosgrove, a Summit County Common Pleas administrative judge, said anyone who consented to the samples -- taken with a mouth swab -- waived rights to later challenge the law.

Petro said in a release that the database is an important tool in criminal investigations that will be crippled if such challenges are allowed.

Most of the new samples are from offenders whose convictions predate the law, his office said.

Older samples had been collected from violent criminals dating back to 1996. The 2005 law opened the collection to all felons, more than doubling the size of the database.

Petro's office said he will support the Summit County prosecutor's planned appeal of the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Petro pointed to the January arrest of Jonathan Gravely, who was charged with the 1994 murder of an Ohio State University student after his DNA matched evidence in the investigation.

Gravely's DNA sample was added to the database because of a 2003 felony conviction for failure to pay child support.

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