CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Challenge to DNA Sampling of Arrestees

The article, entitled DNA Profiling: You May Be Next, by Patrick Kollman, discusses a recent challenge to a California ballot proposition:

Proposition 69, passed in 2004, made California one of now 21 states that require DNA sampling for some arrestees. This voter-approved initiative mandated that this extend to all felony arrestees by Jan. 1, 2009—and the legal backlash has already begun.

Earlier this month the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) filed a lawsuit against the state of California charging that the statute on DNA collection violates search and seizure laws under the Fourth Amendment, and due process under the 14th Amendment.

The ACLU’s lawsuit has fueled the debate over the limits and scope of DNA sampling even as its use is accelerating.  In August 2007, eight states required DNA samples from some arrestees. That number has continued to rise, jumping 50 percent—from 14 states to 21—just this year. In April the federal government began taking samples from suspects arrested on federal crimes, and will also collect DNA from detained undocumented immigrants.

Hat tip: FourthAmendment.com.

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