Some prisoners beating system to crack unsolved crimes - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Some prisoners beating system to crack unsolved crimes

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

A 19 Action News investigation has found how some criminals are beating a system designed to crack unsolved cases.

They're thumbing their noses at a law aimed at collecting DNA samples to help solve mysteries.

In 2011 the state said all jails should take DNA samples from prisoners arrested for felony crimes. The samples go in a database for any possible match to unsolved crimes but we've learned some suspects simply refuse to give a sample.

Cleveland officials confirm it's happened and the Cuyahoga County jail is aware of this problem.

The former Cuyahoga County prosecutor even wrote a letter to county police chiefs -- What to do about suspects refusing to give DNA samples? Former prosecutor Bill Mason wrote, "It is possible to hold an arrestee until he/she cooperates...otherwise -- get a court order to use force or restraint."

Cleveland officials say an "option is get a search warrant to take the sample" and "the state is notified when there is a refusal."

The state Attorney General oversees the DNA database. His office says local cops and jails should work with their lawyers to come up with policies for this problem.

How often does it happen? We're still asking questions about this.

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