CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, February 25, 2013

"DNA and the Constitution"

From The New York Times:

Maryland argues that collecting and analyzing DNA is like fingerprinting. But the purpose of fingerprinting is to identify someone who has been arrested. Maryland was using DNA for investigative purposes, not identification, and doing so without legal justification.

Maryland also argues that the incursion on Mr. King’s privacy was minor compared with the major benefit in crime-solving. But the number of crimes solved with DNAfrom people arrested has been low. The substantial harm to innocent people that could result from the misuse of DNA greatly outweighs the benefits. And the safeguard against such harm is the Fourth Amendment, whose fundamental protections the Maryland court upheld.

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