This month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue of whether it is constitutional for the State to require DNA collection of arrested individuals. The case is Maryland v. King. The argument is set for February 26, 2013.
As way of background:
- The federal government and at least 26 states (including California, Illinois, and Florida) take DNA samples from some or all who are arrested but not yet convicted of serious crimes.
- Last month, President Obama signed into law the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act. The statute will help pay the start-up costs for other states to begin testing people who are arrested.
So what does this issue mean? The issue is whether the State, without a search warrant, can take a DNA swap of an arrested individual – who has not been convicted.
The Maryland Court of Appeals stated the 4th amendment, which bars unreasonable searches, protects people who haven’t been convicted from having to provide DNA evidence. In addition, the court stated, “Although arrestees do not have all the expectations of privacy enjoyed by the general public, the presumption of innocence bestows on them greater protections than convicted felons, parolees or probationers.”
The Maryland Court of Appeals further explained that DNA samples “contain a massive amount of deeply personal information.”