Upheld legislation from Maryland permitting officers to take a DNA sample

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U.S. Supreme Court News…

During its last term in Maryland v. King, the U.S. Supreme Court handed the States a new weapon in their criminal investigation arsenal when it upheld legislation from Maryland permitting officers to take a DNA sample while booking citizens suspected of committing a crime.

This ruling has negative implications for our constitutionally protected right to privacy and to be free of warrantless searches and seizures.  It allows citizen’s DNA to be seized and analyzed and put into national computerized DNA data bases, without ever having been convicted of anything.

This news carries serious consequences for criminal defendants, especially suspects who are arrested but cleared for one crime, but implicated by genetic testing in a separate crime.

Chief Justice Roberts, wrote that the, “’taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is — like fingerprinting and photographing — a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.’”



Justice Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion, stating, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason.”

 Michael Risher, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that, “Innocent Americans should not have their genetic blueprints put in a gigantic government database.”

 In some Louisiana jurisdictions, the arrest and booking procedures require officers to take DNA swabs of a suspect arrested in connection with a felony crime.

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