Friday, September 21, 2012
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] heard arguments Wednesday regarding the constitutionality of a voter-approved California law[Proposition 69, PDF] that requires police officers to take DNA samples of arrested persons suspected of committing a felony. Sitting en banc, the judges questioned CaliforniaAttorney General Kamala Harris [official website], raising concerns [San Francisco Chronicle report] that the law may be an unconstitutional government invasion of individuals' privacy. Harris retorted that the law contains safeguards against malicious use, including penalties for state officials who misuse DNA material. In February a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that Proposition 69 does not violate Fourth Amendment [LII backgrounder] protections against unlawful searches and seizures.