California’s High Court Rules That Collecting DNA From Suspected Felons Not Yet Convicted Is Legal
Civil liberties groups had questioned why DNA should be taken from those who haven’t yet had their day in court, contending that the value of such evidence to law enforcement shouldn’t override the expectation of privacy for those who haven’t been proved to have broken the law. About a third of those arrested on suspicion of a felony in the state are either acquitted or never formally charged.
Los Angeles Times:
California Supreme Court Lets Stand Controversial Law Allowing DNA Collection Upon Arrest
For years civil libertarians hoped to end California's practice of taking DNA from people arrested on suspicion of a felony and storing that genetic information in an offender database — regardless of whether the suspects were later acquitted or had their charges dropped. That fight for more protective rules in the government's DNA collection suffered a major setback Monday when the California Supreme Court let stand a provision of a 2004 voter initiative that said any adult arrested or charged with a felony must give up his or her DNA. (Dolan, 4/2)
Orange County Register:
California Supreme Court Upholds Collection Of DNA From Suspected Felons Not Yet Convicted Of A Crime
In its 4-3 ruling, the state’s high court cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision that found collecting DNA is a legitimate police booking procedure comparable to fingerprinting or taking a suspect’s photograph. The court’s majority wrote that they have a duty to uphold the will of the state’s voters, who approved the collection of DNA for arrestees, unless it is clearly unconstitutional. They also noted that people who are arrested can expunge the DNA samples from law enforcement databases if they aren’t convicted. (Emery, 4/2)