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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, December 5, 2008

European Human Rights Court Rules to Remove Innocent People's DNA Samples from UK Database

From Hundreds of thousands of DNA and fingerprint samples face being removed from police national databases after a court ruled today that holding details of people with no criminal convictions breaches human rights laws.

The European Court of Human rights said in a landmark judgment that retaining the fingerprints and DNA samples of people acquitted of crime, or when proceedings are dropped, breaches a person's right to respect for private life.

Ministers have until March to decide how they will implement the judgement and no samples or fingerprints will be removed from the two datasbases until then.

An estimated 800,000 of the 5.1m samples on the DNA database are of people with no criminal conviction.

The options facing the Government are slim. They could adopt the position in Scotland where DNA samples taken during criminal investigations from people who are not charged or later acquitted of alleged offences are destroyed.

Another option is to see if there is some way in which it would be possible to continue to hold samples of people tried and cleared of serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and serious violence or limiting the time samples of innocent people can be held.Rest of Article. . . [Bobbi Madonna]

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