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/

No Warrant Is Required

A very controversial topic

Did you know you are being tracked right now by the government? The police now is making requests to cell phone companies in order to know the location of their users. It became known in today’s Lawyers.com Radio broadcast where the host Matt Plessner interviews Editor in Chief Larry Bodine.

The good news is: “They’re not asking to listen in on the calls, they just say, ‘we want to know where the person is,’” Bodine says.

According to The Fourth Amendment, the police is required to get a search warrant in almost all cases. Also, The Fourth Amendment, the part of the Bill and Rights, guards people against unreasonable searches and seizures, including arrest. Thus, to be able to get a warrant, the police has to show probable cause that a crime has been committed.

The controversial part of the event is that the police is saying, “We don’t want to bother showing probable cause. We don’t want to bother getting a warrant. We just want the information, just based on our request.”

What’s so special about a Local Record?

Bodine said that the police can get a lot of the information about a cell phone user. For example, they can tell you exactly where you are at the moment. In other words, it’ll be easy to tell whether you went to a bar or a church; whether you are a student or an employee. Even the door you knocked on can be easily identified.

He also explains that there are things people don’t want to make available for anybody. But in this case, your habits, your relationships and all your activities can be figured by the police. It sounds more like an incredible invasion of privacy.

Basically, everything depends on what kind of a cell phone you’re carrying with you. If you have an ordinary phone — to check your location is possible any time you make a call, text or send an e-mail. With a smartphone, everything gets even more complicated, because of a GPS signal; your phone can be checked even though it is on or it is turned off. But, in any event, it can be done without a warrant.

Here’s a link to an audio recorded from the radio station: http://bcove.me/msxqhc08