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Friday, March 13, 2015

California Supreme Court to Decide If Police Can Take DNA Samples

The debate about the proper balance of individual privacy and public safety continues.

Last month, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear a case concerning whether it is constitutional for law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from persons who have been arrested.

How the Court rules could have a major impact on law enforcement practices.

The case comes to the California Supreme Court after a state Court of Appeals last year declared that law enforcement’s collection of DNA samples from arrestees was unlawful.

On the one hand, law enforcement officials argue that the collection of DNA samples—typically achieved by a cheek swab—and synching it with a national database allows police to quickly and precisely determine whether the person arrested may be connected to another crime.

Privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, however, contend that the state’s collection of DNA evidence from people who have only been arrested—but not arraigned, much less convicted—violates the arrestee’s constitutional rights.

The Court of Appeals ruled the collection of DNA evidence from someone who has only been arrested, but “never been convicted, or even charged, with a crime,” violated a protected expectation of privacy and was illegal.

It is unclear when the California Supreme Court will issue its decision on the matter.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, is under investigation, or has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. Attorney Brower is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend your constitutional rights and liberties.

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