<< News Scan | Main | Junk DNA, Junk Cars, and the Fourth Amendment >>

DNA Testing of Arrestees Upheld

| 1 Comment
From the syllabus in Maryland v. King, No. 12-207:

Held: When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
The opinion is by Justice Kennedy.  Justice Breyer is in the majority, and Justice Scalia wrote the dissent.

I will have more to say on this later.

1 Comment

Two questions going forward:

1. What constitutes a "serious" offense? DUI? There are many Supreme Court cases describing the "serious" consequences that DUI offenders exact upon innocent members of society?

2. Will brief detention in custody at a local jail for, example, a quick turnaround booking under California's realignment law, constitute "deten[tion] in custody" under the Court's holding?

Seems like Scalia had the better formalistic, principled argument. But Kennedy's opinion, even if you don't agree how he got there, will save countless lives of innocent persons, while, at the same time, not sacrificing the freedoms and liberties that we all enjoy.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives