Patterico's Pontifications

1/15/2009

Rape-Murder Solved by DNA, Privacy Advocates Concerned

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Morons — Patterico @ 10:58 pm

The L.A. Times reports that a 19-year-old rape/murder case has been solved by that evil, untrustworthy DNA. What the paper doesn’t tell you is that the murder never would have been solved if we had listened to Times editors.

The article begins:

In their rough South Los Angeles neighborhood, Mary Romer and Alma Harvey watched over each other.

So back in February 1990, Romer didn’t think twice about walking across the street to Harvey’s home when another friend called. They were concerned because they had not heard from the 82-year-old, who had trouble walking and was mostly housebound.

Romer used a spare key to enter the house. As she crept inside, she called for her friend, but there was no answer. In the bedroom, she discovered Harvey’s lifeless body lying on the bed with her arms half-raised and her face covered by a sheet. Police later determined that she had been raped and strangled.

The case lay dormant for a period, but several years ago, “[d]etectives tested DNA evidence found on Harvey’s bedsheet, believing it had been left by her killer. Recently, they got a hit on a national DNA database.” The suspect: Isidro Ponce.

[I]n October, Ponce was arrested in Concord on an outstanding domestic violence arrest warrant from Los Angeles. Ponce was shipped back to L.A. Once in jail, his mouth was eventually swabbed for DNA, as is standard procedure. On Jan. 5, the LAPD got the call that Ponce’s DNA matched that from the Harvey crime scene. A check of Ponce’s background revealed he was a one-time neighbor.

What the paper doesn’t tell you is that, if editors had gotten their way, this horrendous murder never would have been solved.

Back in 2004, the paper opposed Proposition 69, which greatly expanded DNA collection in the state of California. As I wrote in a post blasting the editors’ position, before Proposition 69, “only certain specified serious and violent felonies trigger[ed] the collection of DNA samples under California law.” Under Proposition 69, this limited collection of DNA was expanded to allow DNA to be taken from people arrested for any felony offense . . . like domestic violence. The crime for which Ponce was arrested.

Without Proposition 69, Isidro Ponce would be running around free.

Where’s our editorial about that?

Since 2004, we have seen a spate of handwringing stories from this newspaper, trumpeting the concerns of “privacy advocates” over the supposedly draconian policy of expanding DNA databases. What do the “privacy advocates” think about this arrest?

Will we see an article about that?

Here, from the Times article, is a picture of Alma Harvey:

This is the woman whose rape/murder case wasn’t as important to L.A. Times editors and “privacy advocates” as their deep concern about violating Isidro Ponce’s privacy by swabbing his mouth with a Q-tip.

23 Comments

  1. Here is one that the idiot masses can wrap their idiot minds around. Maybe O’Reilly will take notice.

    Comment by j curtis (ab1a7b) — 1/15/2009 @ 11:18 pm

  2. Anybody that knows even a little about criminal investigations realizes how important DNA is and having a nationwide database to review and cross check information.
    The use of DNA has prevented countless rapes and murders.
    The liberal idiots at the LA Times show once again that their ideology trumps whats best for the citizens of our country.
    Just another reason why this is happening:

    Go East, young man? Californians look for the exit

    By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press Writer Michael R. Blood, Associated Press Writer
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090112/ap_on_re_us/fleeing_california_3

    LOS ANGELES – Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he’s going to look for it in Colorado.

    With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state’s lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.

    Is there something left of the California dream?
    “If you are a Hollywood actor,” Reilly says, “but not for us.”

    That liberal ideology from the “smart ones” is doing so well that people in California are “escaping” by the hundreds of thousands.

    Our law enforcement needs every tool at it’s disposal to get murderers and rapists off the street.
    The editors at the LA Times apparently would get more satisfaction out of celebrating with the ACLU
    their victory of giving criminals an easier road to commit their crimes than advocating policies that would actually protect the citizens from the perpetrators of these crimes.

    Comment by Baxter Greene (8035ae) — 1/15/2009 @ 11:22 pm

  3. Having just returned from seeing Gran Torino, this post hits me like a gutshot.
    Things are coming to a head. I hope I choose to be a force for good.

    I despair, with the coming remaking of the federal bench and DOJ, that the forces of evil will gain further at the expense of the innocent.

    What is going to be the “Ohio” moment for the law-abiding and decent folks? Who will write the anthem as CSNY did for anti-war protesters? Who will listen?

    God bless you, Patrick, for continuing to fight this fight.

    Comment by Ed (39e6e8) — 1/15/2009 @ 11:25 pm

  4. ________________________________

    This is the woman whose rape/murder case wasn’t as important to L.A. Times editors and “privacy advocates” as their deep concern about violating Isidro Ponce’s privacy by swabbing his mouth with a Q-tip.

    Merely another example of the ass-backwards sentiments and ideology of people on the left.

    Once again, they wouldn’t be as pathetic and exasperating — if not also disgusting — to me if they at least didn’t believe their philosophy and biases made them somehow so humane, civilized, noble, advanced, kind and decent.
    ________________________________

    Comment by Mark (411533) — 1/15/2009 @ 11:40 pm

  5. I think there are legit reasons to be upset at the notion of a national DNA database. Especially if you’re swabbed merely for being arrested, and not upon conviction. The government doesn’t have a right to know a damn thing about my DNA.

    But it’s pretty damn obvious that DNA evidence has great scientific merit, and it’s a damn shame that the LA Times has taken up the mission of planting doubt int he minds of jurors by basically lying about DNA science.

    Comment by Joco (4cdfb7) — 1/15/2009 @ 11:46 pm

  6. I think there are legit reasons to be upset at the notion of a national FINGERPRINT database. Especially if you’re made to give them merely for being arrested, and not upon conviction. The government doesn’t have a right to know a damn thing about my FINGERPRINTS.

    I have heard few people screeching about fingerprint databases and I somehow fail to see the difference between a fingerprint database and a DNA database (save that DNA can’t be filed off or altered to conceal one’s identity).

    Joco, do you think taking fingerprints upon arrest, not conviction is also a privacy violation?

    Comment by Random Numbers (20b9e8) — 1/16/2009 @ 3:43 am

  7. I’m all for a national database. I’m also a big fan of the Innocence Project. For those arguing with someone against the DNA database the Innocence Project is a good counterpoint. “How many wrongly convicted people would be exonerated with a national DNA database in place?”
    The only reservation I have about a national database is how to keep the health insurance companies from gaining access.

    Comment by voiceofreason2 (590c85) — 1/16/2009 @ 4:14 am

  8. Take fingerprints and DNA from everyone for a national database. Many of us were never arrested and yet the government made fingerprints a condition of employment. I’m just another Bush apologist who doesn’t care if the government listened in on my private phone conversations if the call is connected to some possible terrorist connection abroad.

    How many crimes would be prevented or solved with various databases and sophisticated computer programs or even surveillance cameras?

    I’d be more concerned about privacy invasions and abuses if and when Juggy facilitates his promised enormous civilian Brown Shirt Corps/Gestapo. ..the Chicago Way/union card checks/fairness doctrine libtards wants vs. BusHitler’s alleged constitutional abuses.

    Comment by aoibhneas (0c6cfc) — 1/16/2009 @ 5:40 am

  9. Ah, j curtis. Leading us off with that potent non sequitur/ad hominem attack combo. Heckuva job!

    Comment by Icy Texan (b7d162) — 1/16/2009 @ 6:28 am

  10. I’m with j curtis. Those idiot masses voted in a guy with no credentials to be president. Right ?

    Right, j ?

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 1/16/2009 @ 7:09 am

  11. Re: #2, If Mike Reilly thinks he can escape the consequences of liberal nonsense by leaving Southern California for the Denver area, he should think again. High taxes, bad schools, lots of illegals, and insane traffic are all waiting for him in Colorado. He’s got the right idea, but the wrong location. I’m afraid Mike’s going to find nearly the same problems, but this time they come with really horid winter weather.

    Comment by Ropelight (d40bc3) — 1/16/2009 @ 7:43 am

  12. [...] Patterico nails the LA Times — and self-described “privacy advocates” — to the wall. Permanently. [...]

    Pingback by Right Wing Nation » Blog Archive » Q-Tips And Justice (f5b68a) — 1/16/2009 @ 9:42 am

  13. “many of us had to give DNA and fingerprints as a condition of government employments”

    So? You were not forced to give your DNA and fingerprints. You chose to do so. If you had refused, you would have simply had to find a different job. This is utterly irrelevant. Actually, it’s just plain asinine to bring it up.

    “What about fingerprints? No one minds giving up fingerprints!!!!!!!! So we should give up DNA too!!!!!!”

    What? Hell no, I’m not OK with fingerprinting every American citizen. That is similar to DNA, yes, and unless the government has a specific, reasonable, justification for searching you for your DNA and fingerprints, or you have volunteered to provide it, then we have a right to privacy implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, and consistent with a, frankly, obvious interpretation of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments of the constitution.

    Some people pretend the 2nd amendment doesn’t apply anymore. Or that the tenth is a truism that is meaningless. If you don’t like the constitution’s guarantees, you should amend the document. You shouldn’t force everyone to be searched in order to make a database, even though we have a right not to be searched without cause.

    You say that any arrest is cause for a (sometimes) unrelated search? Fine, the supreme court agrees with you and I have to accept that (though I disagree in certain arrests). That’s at least an attempt to be reasonable. But some want to fingerprint and DNA swab every citizen (via involuntary things like driver’s licensing). That’s a search of a citizen that did nothing wrong. What’s the point of this country if any citizen may be searched out of fear they will commit a crime?

    there’s a continuum here. We have bona fide monsters like this rapist who were searched for DNA because there was reason to believe they were criminals. On the other end, we have my wife who has never had a speeding ticket and doesn’t want to be tracked by an out of control government, In the middle, we have a person who is arrested for absolutely no good reason, is utterly innocent, etc. We can’t have a perfect law, so we either have to search too many or too few people. And ‘ALL’ is the wrong answer.

    Comment by Joco (4cdfb7) — 1/16/2009 @ 10:12 am

  14. Joco…
    I am a passionate defender of the 2nd-A, so much so that I became a FFL. To do so required the submittal of fingerprints to the ATF, CA DoJ, my local City, plus a pix to the ATF.
    Plus, when I qualified for an M-1 Garand through participation in the Civilian Marksmanship Program, I had to submit more prints to the (at that time) DCM at DoD.
    Then, when working as a Security Guard, that required more fingerprints for CA’s BSIS, with an additional card going to the FBI.
    Not counting the full set submitted to the DMV when working as a car-salesman back in the 60′s.
    We won’t even go into the number of sets taken when in the USAF for enlistment, and then subsequent Security Clearance back-ground checks.
    Plus, most recently, the required back-ground check for a clearance while in the Coast Guard Aux.

    After having been printed more than a dozen times in my life, and never having been arrested – let alone convicted – I think that having felony arrestees submit DNA is not such a big deal, and has the potential to, and has, close a lot of open cases.

    Comment by AD (87db80) — 1/16/2009 @ 10:38 am

  15. AD, it is endlessly frustrating to me that gun enthusiasts have to basically opt out of the rest of their rights to own a collectible weapon.

    It would be perverse to treat you worse than we treat an arrested violent criminal.

    But some are saying a full database (beyond mere arrestees) would be great, and that’s wrong. I also think that if would hardly be a problem to take DNA after conviction. What’s the problem with that? That innocent people don’t get put into the database? 9/10s of people charged are eventually found guilty of something.

    Comment by Joco (4cdfb7) — 1/16/2009 @ 10:42 am

  16. I also appreciate that you limit your DNA searches to felony arrests instead of all arrests.

    You have a pretty reasonable point of view on this.

    Comment by Joco (4cdfb7) — 1/16/2009 @ 10:43 am

  17. All members of the Armed Services have to submit DNA – seems to help in establishing the identity of remains…don’t know how that works.

    Comment by AD (87db80) — 1/16/2009 @ 10:50 am

  18. AD, all members of the armed forces are subject to their personal quarters being inspected for cleanliness (even those living off post, though this inspection never happens to normal troops).

    All soldiers lose some degree of their free speech. Also, troops on post can’t have privately owned weapons in their homes. Soldiers even have to run and to pushups when the government tells them to.

    And yeah, they have blood drawn for HIV testing and DNA storage. It has nothing to do with checking to see if they were ever raping people, and if it did, I’d get pretty pissed off about it.

    Comment by Joco (4cdfb7) — 1/16/2009 @ 11:17 am

  19. Well, we make choices based upon what we think is in our best interest.
    If you don’t want to be subject to the UCMJ, all you have to do is not raise your Right-Hand!

    If we (the vast civilian majority) want to submit to a nanny-govt, and live by the same rules that the military has to (or worse), all we have to do is throw the liberty and freedom that we take for granted down the crapper, and become serfs that some bureaucrat can order around.

    But, the bigger point is, when you set out to break the law, you must realize (and if you don’t realize what the consequences of your actions might/will be, don’t come crying to me) that you have broken the social-compact, and that all bets are off. The first indication will be that upon arrest, you will be searched, your fingerprints will be taken, your photograph will be taken, and your DNA will be taken, and you will be put into a cage depriving you of liberty and freedom.
    These actions are the result of your behavior. And Yes, I do realize that completely innocent individuals are sometimes mistakenly arrested, and even convicted, for crimes that they did not convict. But, we are talking about reality (the Good) and not some fantasy (the Perfection).
    Governments are instituted among men to secure those rights granted by our Creator.
    It is never a perfect institution, but one we must monitor, and discipline, constantly.

    I yield the soap-box.

    Comment by AD (87db80) — 1/16/2009 @ 11:44 am

  20. What? Hell no, I’m not OK with fingerprinting every American citizen. That is similar to DNA, yes, and unless the government has a specific, reasonable, justification for searching you for your DNA and fingerprints, or you have volunteered to provide it, then we have a right to privacy implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, and consistent with a, frankly, obvious interpretation of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments of the constitution.

    First, the 3rd Amendment? You know that has to do with quartering of soldiers, right? I have no idea what that has to do with swabbing for DNA, please enlighten me.

    Second, no one on this thread has argued for fingerprinting everyone in the country. However, it is not at all unreasonable to take the fingerprint and DNA of anyone arrested.

    Comment by Steverino (69d941) — 1/16/2009 @ 12:02 pm

  21. “…it is not at all unreasonable to take the fingerprint and DNA of anyone arrested.”
    Comment by Steverino — 1/16/2009 @ 12:02 pm

    Perhaps what some of our uber-civil libertarian brothers need to look at is having the standards for “Probable Cause”, “Exigent Circumstances”, and “Reasonable Suspicion” raised to make it more difficult to detain and arrest suspects?

    Comment by AD (87db80) — 1/16/2009 @ 12:10 pm

  22. And yeah, they have blood drawn for HIV testing and DNA storage. It has nothing to do with checking to see if they were ever raping people, and if it did, I’d get pretty pissed off about it.

    There is where you drop out of reality, Joco. They don’t take your DNA to check if you are raping people anymore than they take your picture to compare with the last dozen bank robbery videos. The DNA sample, like a photograph or fingerprints, is an identifier, not evidence.

    Comment by Random Numbers (20b9e8) — 1/16/2009 @ 7:17 pm

  23. [...] paper reported on a 19-year-old rape/murder being solved by a hit from a DNA database — but neglected to mention that editors had crusaded against exactly these kinds of [...]

    Pingback by Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32) — 12/31/2009 @ 10:33 pm

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