Supreme Court rules DNA swabs can be taken after arrests

06/03/2013 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Washington – The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing DNA swabs to be taken after an arrest is made. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the divided Court determined Monday that police routinely taking DNA from arrestees was comparable to fingerprinting and other procedures during jailhouse booking.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is quoted by the AP as writing for the majority, “Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

The 5-4 decision reverses a decision of a Maryland court that determined the taking of a DNA sample from a man who was convicted of rape after his DNA was taken following his arrest on an unrelated charge without a judge’s approval was illegal.

Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia is quoted as stating in dissent of the Court’s decision, “Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

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