DNA Upon Arrest

Does taking DNA upon arrest instead of based on a conviction equate to “going down the slippery slope?” In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided that taking a DNA sample upon arrest for a serious crime was no different than taking photographs or fingerprints. The case that brought it to the Court was Maryland v. King (docket 12-207). Nearly 28 states in the Union were already doing this procedure, so the impact could have been widespread if the Court decided to overturn it.

The decision has takeaways for both Crime Control Advocates and Civil Libertarians. Crime Control Advocates faired better in the decision. They get the opportunity to close more cold cases and the ability to identify suspect faster to prevent further victimization. Civil Libertarians will get faster exoneration’s and the release of the innocent faster. Either way, each group can call it a victory.

The question for Criminal Justice officials will be when and where would be best to take the sample. It could be done at a variety of places including the station house or central booking. The decision will also bring a whole new set of problems including contamination and the proper packaging, storing and securing of the samples. My suggestion is to have a trained professional from the lab do it at central booking, this way you are guaranteed to get the sample taken from everyone the right way.

Many Civil Liberties groups are fighting the decision as an invasion of privacy, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that taking DNA upon arrest is no different than taking fingerprints and photographs during the booking process.

Photo Courtesy of AnneClinton.com