Warrantless DNA Collection Is Constitutionally Acceptable
“‘Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason,’ conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said in a sharp dissent which he read aloud in the courtroom,” – USA Today, 6/3/2013.
In their split decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that police collection of DNA for non-convicted arrestees is constitutionally acceptable.
Though the technology is relatively new, the premise on which the opposition based its case is not. In this case, fourth amendment protections against warrantless searches and seizures were pitted against the prosecutorial advantages of high-tech crime-solving techniques, and constitutional purists lost.
Though a sound blow for privacy advocates, the decision has been heralded as one that will be of great advantage to law enforcement agencies. Thanks to SCOTUS’s decision, police are now permitted to take a DNA swab following an arrest as a routine part of booking procedures. No conviction is required, nor is a warrant.
In short: if you are arrested, your DNA can be collected as part of a routine booking procedure, and later used against you to help convict you of the crime for which you were arrested or any other crime you may have committed.
They may then upload the results of that DNA test into a national database (i.e., CODIS). CODIS information, in turn, can be used by law enforcement for solving unsolved crimes.
In the particular case heard by the justices, Alonzo King’s DNA collected during an assault charge in 2009 was used to help convict him of a formerly unsolved rape case which occurred six years prior. King’s attorneys argued that the DNA should not be entered into evidence, because those who gathered it did so without a warrant.
We are a criminal defense law firm and assist individuals from the Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Banning, Corona and Riverside areas. If you have been arrested, time is of the essence. Contact us immediately so we can begin the process of making sure justice is served.