Legal Cartoon

Compliments of Mark Anderson of Andertoons

 

DNA test without a warrant

The Court has decided the police can sample your DNA without a warrant. Thus, anyone arrested for a felony, even the individuals who were never convicted, can now be tested. The tests’ results are uploaded to state and federal crime database.

Pros and cons

Some law agencies hope DNA testing can be a reliable identification tool rather than names, appearance and fingerprints. Proponents say it is a valuable tool which can investigate unsolved crimes. It can also help separate violent offenders from other people. For example, a Maryland study shows that 20 crimes could have been prevented if just 3 arrested were sampled.

Opponents claim it violates the Fourth Amendment which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. As a result, in a number of state and federal courts there were cases when the law faced conflicting results. The case by the Maryland Court of Appeals held the practice unconstitutional. It happened earlier this year. A DNA sample was taken from a man who was arrested in 2009 on assault. It matched evidence from an unsolved rape. Later on, he was convicted and charged by the state based on the match.

Removing your DNA data

If you have been arrested for a felony you did not commit, you can have your records removed from the database. Only eight states offer automatic deletion of these records. In the remaining 17 states arrestees must contact authorities to ask that their records be removed.

More information here: http://blogs.lawyers.com/2012/10/the-police-can-test-your-dna-without-a-warrant/