The Supreme Court to review DNA Law which allows law enforcement officials the right to collect DNA samples without a search warrant from persons arrested for crimes.
The case centers around a Maryland law that gives police the right to get DNA from those who have not been convicted, but only arrested for a crime. This man, Alonzo King Jr., was linked to a 2003 rape after authorities collected DNA as part of an unrelated case. Prosecutors used this evidence to charge and convict him to life in prison. During the trial King tried to use the Fourth Amendment, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, to suppress the evidence against him. The trial judge denied this request and was later appealed.
The appeals court claims the DNA collection differs from methods like fingerprints because DNA provides a “vast genetic treasure map” and that samples taken from those convicted of crimes is different since those persons already have a “diminished expectation of privacy.” However other judges disagree citing that suspects can already be completely searched prior to being arrested and see no reason DNA should be any different. This and other topics to be reviewed by the Supreme Court can be found here.
When the high court agreed to hear the case, comments by Chief Justice John Roberts indicated his support for the Maryland law. “Collecting DNA from individuals arrested for violent felonies provides a valuable tool for investigating unsolved crimes and thereby helping to remove violent offenders from the general population,” said Roberts.
The 1994 federal law to established a national DNA database was originally set up to only include convicted felons. The Supreme Court arguments on the issue are expected to take place early next year, with some outcome expected by the end of June.