Gov. DeSantis signs bill requiring DNA samples from all Florida inmates

DeSantis signed the measure Friday. Lawmakers passed it unanimously.

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed legislation that could lead to cold case closures across the Sunshine State.

The bill (HB 533), which goes into effect immediately, requires all Florida inmates who don’t already have DNA in the state’s database to provide a sample by Sept. 30.

State law already requires many individuals arrested or convicted of certain offenses to submit DNA samples, including those charged with sexual assault, indecent exposure, murder, robbery, battery, burglary, felony firearm violations and theft.

The samples then go into a database for cross reference. Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials say they lead to more than 4,500 hits yearly in unsolved crimes.

But according to the bill’s Republican sponsors, Spring Hill Sen. Blaise Ingoglia and Miami Lakes Rep. Tom Fabricio, close to half of Florida’s inmates have never given DNA samples due to a “loophole” HB 533 closes.

“This bill … will allow us to obtain DNA evidence from all persons incarcerated in Florida state prisons so that our backlog of cases can be closed, which will bring finality and closure to many Florida families,” Fabricio said in a statement.

DeSantis signed the measure Friday. Lawmakers passed it unanimously.

Ingoglia called the bill “very important” but “simple.” It adds just one paragraph to Florida Statutes.

It would have been a boon to another proposal (SB 350, HB 837) by Tamarac Sen. Rosalind Osgood and Miami Gardens Rep. Christopher Benjamin, both Democrats, that gained little traction this year.

If passed, their bills would have made it easier for families of unsolved murder victims to reopen their cases.

According to Project: Cold Case, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit, there were 57,181 homicides in Florida from 1965 to 2021. Of those, 19,549 remain unsolved.


Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Dont Say FLA

    March 22, 2024 at 4:34 pm

    Not just inmates, but certain to be inmates too, I hope? Yes I mean every last one of todays FLgOPs!

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    March 22, 2024 at 4:56 pm

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  • PeterH

    March 23, 2024 at 12:13 pm

    Peter Navarro will be first in line! Get your arm and wallet ready for a blood draw MAGA’s …… we may be able to link you up with a generation of dependent children you never knew about.

  • Cris Roland

    March 23, 2024 at 6:14 pm

    DNA samples taken from oerson’s arrested, should be disposed of and all samples of DNA deleted from all law enforcement agencies should the individual arrested is found not guilty at any trial, or if a State Atty drops all charges and never pursues any charges brought against an individual by law enforcement agencies.

  • Ronald Markland

    March 29, 2024 at 9:27 am

    A DNA sample provides the identity of a SUSPECT, Law Enforcement and the legal system still have to prove quilt. Arre you aware that even if the perpatrator does not have DNA on file, if their relatives do, it is possible to find the identity of a SUSPECT. Takes a while for a genetic geaneoligist, but is being done all the time.

Comments are closed.


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