June 10, 2013
Supreme Court Upholds DNA Testing for Arrestees
A 5-4 Supreme Court decision given on Monday, June 4, upholds the policy for police to take DNA samples of people arrested but not yet convicted for a “serious offense.” The decision answers the question as to whether or not taking these samples is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, which states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Justice Kennedy likened the taking and analyzing of a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA to fingerprinting and photographing. After a probable cause arrest police may fingerprint and photograph the suspect, which are both deemed reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
Twenty-eight states and the federal government currently take DNA samples of suspected violent criminals, including Missouri. Many people have been unaware of their state’s policy to take the DNA of suspects that have not yet been convicted.
Know your 4th amendment rights now in case you find yourself in legal trouble in the future. Take a look at our previous blog post about search and seizure to ensure you understand what you can do in that type of situation. Our law office has the experience and knowledge to make sure your rights are protected, so call us at (816) 875-0470 or request more information via our website.