The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is scheduled to reconsider today whether California violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against searches and seizures by requiring police to take DNA samples from those arrested but not yet convicted. California’s law is designed to accurately identify those arrested , solve crimes , and exonerate the innocent.
Earlier in the year, the court ruled it was constitutional. The law should be ruled unconstitutional. Unless there is a search warrant or reasonable suspicion that a different crime was committed , the taking of a DNA sample violates the Fourth Amendment. Does citizens invasion of privacy outweigh the benefits to law enforcement ? The stated purpose of the law is identification. Most law enforcement agencies use fingerprints to make sure they have the right person. Even the citation docket here in Nashville uses fingerprints to identify a person cited for a crime. The real purpose of the California law is investigation. Seize some DNA and whenever you collect some DNA you run it to see if you get a match in your database.When the state seizes the DNA sample , it enters the sample into CODIS which links the DNA database from state , federal , and local databases.
Taking DNA from someone merely arrested violates the Fourth Amendment. Once you are convicted of a felony in Tennessee , you are required to submit to a sample. The constitution permits that sample. Tennessee also allows the taking of a DNA sample as a condition of bond on certain types of felonies. However , California and other sates seizure of DNA solely on the basis of a arrest violates the spirit of the Fourth Amendment. I expect the U.S.Supreme Court to take up the issue in a similar case from Maryland.Currently more than half the states have DNA sampling at the time of arrest.