Statute allowing DNA sampling on arrest upheld

I wrote earlier this year about a new federal statute called Katie’s Law  and similar statutes in 28 states that allow DNA samples to be taken from anyone charged with specified serious felonies when arrested — rather than deferring sampling until conviction. I also mentioned an on-going challenge to Maryland’s law. The challenger was arrested for assault and a DNA sample was taken. The sample connected him to an unsolved rape, for which he was then charged.

The Supreme Court has now reversed the Maryland Supreme Court and upheld the state law, holding 5-4 that sampling at the time of arrest is not unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority that “police have a legitimate interest in identifying the person taken into custody and that the DNA samples could make sure that a dangerous criminal is not released on bail,” and the intrusiveness of a DNA swab is minimal in comparison. More details from the Washington Post report.

1 thought on “Statute allowing DNA sampling on arrest upheld

  1. If you have nothing to hide of a criminal nature, than this ruling should not bother you at all. And if it catches some stray rapists, murderers, terrorists and so on, all the better. Since it only applies to felony arrests, I guess no one at a routine traffic stop will be swabbed. What good does it do to get the swab AFTER conviction? Much better to do it early rather than too late.

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