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NACDL News: DNA Collection on Arrest Constitutional Under Certain Circumstances
By Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer
NACDL News columns.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 3 in Maryland v. King that “[w]hen officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, 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.” The 5-4 majority opinion of the Court was delivered by Justice Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito and Breyer. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan.
In response to the decision, NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said: “The Supreme Court essentially ruled that Americans’ homes and cars are more protected from warrantless searches than our bodies. How can this be? As technology advances, we must be careful to protect fundamental privacy interests from unacceptable government intrusion. This type of intrusion might now be constitutional, but it certainly is not mandatory. NACDL calls on state legislatures to provide greater protection than the Supreme Court has provided.”
NACDL’s resolution opposing the expansion of DNA databases, the amicus brief NACDL filed in Maryland v. King, and the Court’s opinion are all available in the News Releases section of NACDL’s website.