Skip to comments.Supreme Court upholds DNA swabbing of people under arrest
Posted on 06/03/2013 7:41:56 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the police practice of taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested for a serious offense but not convicted of a crime, ruling that it amounts to the 21st century version of fingerprinting.
The ruling was 5-4. Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, joined three of the courts more liberal members Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in dissenting.
The five justices in the majority ruled that DNA sampling, after an arrest for a serious offense and when officers bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, does not violate the Fourth Amendments prohibition of unreasonable searches.
At an oral argument in February, Justice Samuel Alito called the question perhaps the most important criminal procedure case the court had taken up in decades.
(Excerpt) Read more at usnews.nbcnews.com ...
“for a serious offense”
Be prepared to interpret this down to jaywalking over the next few years.
Another article on the SCOTUS decision on DNA testing.
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Every dirty cop will be abusing this ruling soon. As if the police being able to lie obtain information wasn’t bad enough.
Add another group the anti-Constitutional crowd.
The 5 no doubt feared some perp getting sprung only to discover years later he was guilty of 25 rapes.
Breyer’s position shifting after being the victim of a home invasion?
Pretty difficult to argue with. If there was a constitutional issue here, it should have been made when fingerprinting became prevalent.
DNA can be used for some additional somewhat unsavory purposes, but simply for ID it is very similar to fingerprinting.
Given the police can flat-out lie to you, and that they have been known to plant marijuana and/or guns, I wonder if they won’t start planting DNA too...
“Held: When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be de-tained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestees DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing,a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth
...Marylands Act authorizes law en-forcement authorities to collect DNA samples from, as relevant here, persons charged with violent crimes,including first-degree assault. A sample may not be added to a database before an individual is ar-raigned, and it must be destroyed if, e.g.,he is not convicted...
...The framework for deciding the issue presented is well established. Using a buccal swab inside a persons cheek to obtain a DNA sample is a search under the Fourth Amendment. And the fact that the intrusion is negligible is of central relevance to determining whether the search is reasonable, the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search, Vernonia School Dist. 47Jv. Acton, 515 U. S. 646, 652. Because the need for a warrant is greatly diminished here, where the arrestee was already in valid police custody for a serious offense supported by probable cause, the search is analyzed by reference to reasonableness, not individualized suspicion, Samsonv. California, 547 U. S. 843, 855, n. 4, and reasonableness is determined by weighing the promotion of legitimate govern-mental interests against the degree to which [the search] intrudes upon an individuals privacy, Wyomingv. Houghton, 526 U. S. 295, 300. Pp. 710.”
At first glance, I’m inclined to agree with the decision. The 4th Amendment was meant to prevent general warrants, which lasted as long as the king was alive and allowed a search of your property at any time.
I know that a significant percentage of FReepers won’t agree with this decision, but I agree with this overturning of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling that such “searches” are unconstitutional.
I’d argue that a fingerprint does not contain information on heredity, propensity to disease, and all of the defining information of one’s physical composition. So, not really similar.
I’m conflicted about this decision. Fingerprints, blood, BAC, hair, DNA, iris scans, tatoo pics. What’s next when technology allows it? Semen, brain waves?
“...ruling that it amounts to the 21st century version of fingerprinting”
Because the government could always abuse fingerprints to determine paternity, look for genetic markers that predict cancer, etc.
Yep, DNA is just like fingerprints.
So if the “probable cause” reason for searching falls through, then the DNA info gained is inadmissable?
Also, what is so hard about getting a legitimate warrant is the suspect is detained?
I speak as someone who has their DNA ‘on file’ (we put blood samples on cards in the Army, which could later be used to identify our remains).
I don’t feel real good about it. I can imagine a world where the HHS gets their hands on my DNA, and finds a way to raise my insurance rates, if it finds a genetic marker for cancer. I can imagine a world where the federal governemnt starts to build a national genetic family tree...for the purposes of retribution. It might discover that my great, great, great grandfather owned slaves...and prescribe that I pay into a repparations fund. I can imagine a world where the federal government identifies that I have a genetic predisposition to being violent...and I can no longer pass a background check.
This is huge - the government (which I have little trust towards) has just been given the key code to our genetic code. The socialistic possibilities of this are endless.
And it is nooooothing like fingerprints...which are good for one solitary purpose, and nothing else - establishing identity.
The problem is not in taking the DNA and comparing it with existing samples of DNA taken from crime scenes. The problem is the retention of that sample and its information, not just at the local, but the state and federal level.
The feds in particular want a permanent database of the DNA of all people living in the US, and even that of people who visit the US. It’s just another part of their obsessive voyeurism and illusion of micromanaging control over people.
It is way past the point of reasonableness, and is in the realm of mental illness. Something that should be taken into account when you hear the pleadings of those that crave ever more information about the lives of their subjects.
And something that should definitely be ended by those people interested in limited government.
“Marylands Act authorizes law enforcement authorities to collect DNA samples from, as relevant here, persons charged with violent crimes,including first-degree assault. A sample may not be added to a database before an individual is arraigned, and it must be destroyed if, e.g.,he is not convicted”
Is the law obeyed or are samples kept? Are samples reported to the feds but discarded locally? I don’t think fingerprints are discarded, they are reported to the feds conviction or no.
“Id argue that a fingerprint does not contain information on heredity, propensity to disease, and all of the defining information of ones physical composition. So, not really similar.”
Just wait until the IRS gets to use this information to determine your health insurance rates, etc.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the IRS doesn’t eventually demand DNA tests for everyone.
taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestees DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
No it’s not the same. You don’t lose anything physical with fingerprinting or photography. With this you lose some cells, so it’s not just a search, it’s a seizure. And a seizure without due process or just compensation.
I know a few cells aren’t much to be seized, but where do you draw the new line and what keeps them from moving it again once it is drawn? Remember, we already had a line, at least in the opinion of some, and this changes it.