CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, June 3, 2013

"A Few Thoughts on Maryland v. King"

From Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy. In part:

For the majority, per Justice Kennedy, taking and analyzing DNA samples upon arrest is okay because taking DNA is generally about identifying the person under arrest, which is a very important government interest and renders the search constitutional. For the dissent, per Justice Scalia, taking DNA isn’t okay in this case because it really had nothing to do with identifying the person and was just about collecting evidence of other crimes.

There are some interesting issues lurking in there about how you determine the purpose of a search to know whether to trigger general reasonableness balancing or the default warrant standard. But that’s an issue that tends to lurk in cases at the border of the special needs exception, Cf. Al-Kidd, and I don’t think the opinions in King shed much light on that. So while King is very important from a practical standpoint, there isn’t a whole lot of academically-interesting stuff happening in the King opinions.

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