The Supreme Court is considering the limits of post-arrest DNA sampling. Is it like fingerprinting, a minimal invasion of privacy, or is it an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment? Can it be used as a basis to proceed against the accused where the previous crime is unconnected to the one in which the DNA was collected?
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...g-arrests?liteThe case arises from the arrest of a 26-year-old Maryland man, Alonzo King, in 2009 on a charge of second-degree assault. The police took a swab of DNA from his cheek, ran it through a database and matched it to an unsolved rape from six years earlier.
King was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for the 2009 assault. The Maryland Court of Appeals later reversed the rape conviction on the grounds that the DNA sample was an unreasonable search.
The question before the court has vast implications: 28 states and the federal government take DNA swabs from people under arrest before they can be judged innocent or guilty. In Maryland alone, DNA samples during arrests have led to 75 prosecutions and 42 convictions since 2009, Katherine Winfree, the state’s chief deputy attorney general, told the justices.
For analysis of the issues, and the amicus positions, see: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/12-207
At argument it appeared that Justices Alito, endorsing the sampling, and Scalia, against the sampling, were on opposite sides of this issue.
The case is Maryland vs. King.
At first glance I analogize it to fingerprinting, which can also refer back to previously unsolved crimes. And a cheek swab is minimally intrusive.