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SCOTUS Upholds Warrantless DNA Collection at Arrest

June 03, 2013 at 11:23 am by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, Criminal Injustice Series, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

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dnaSupreme Court upholds DNA swabbing of people under arrest, NBC News:

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the police practice of taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime, ruling that it amounts to the 21st century version of fingerprinting.

The ruling was 5-4. Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, joined three of the court’s more liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in dissenting…

The five justices in the majority ruled that DNA sampling, after an arrest “for a serious offense” and when officers “bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody,” does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches…

Under those specifications, the court said, “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.”

While a cheek swab does constitute a search under the law, the court noted that it requires “but a light touch” and no surgical intrusion — a critical point, the court said, in determining whether it was reasonable.

See also DNA “Evidence”, Privacy, and Racialized Dragnets for more background.

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2 comments
Seeta
Seeta moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks for posting this Nancy.  What a sad day in America.  Unbelievable.

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg

@Seeta Yes.. When even Scalia knows it is bad.. So tired of the fencing Clinton Old Boy appointee Breyer -- what is wrong w/ him???