Supreme Court: DNA swab after arrest is legitimate search
June 3rd, 2013
11:16 AM ET
1 year ago

Supreme Court: DNA swab after arrest is legitimate search

Washington (CNN) – The Supreme Court has ruled criminal suspects can be subjected to a police DNA test after arrest - before trial and conviction - a privacy-versus-public-safety dispute that could have wide-reaching implications in the rapidly evolving technology surrounding criminal procedure.

At issue in the ruling Monday was whether taking genetic samples from someone held without a warrant in criminal custody for "a serious offense" is an unconstitutional "search."

Read the ruling (pdf)

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    we are quickly losing our country and personal freedoms, even the right to our dna. how this could not be considered self incrimination is beyond me. this goes too far and eventually the government will start arresting people on bogus charges in order to collect their dna for their database. blacks and minorities should be especially concerned. you can carry law and order too far, just ask north korea.

    June 3, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Sniffit

    And yet again, the conservatives on the court get it shamefully wrong.

    June 3, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. sonny chapman

    Damned Guvment ! Next thing they'll want is a Registry of those who buy Assault Guns.

    June 3, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. truth hurts but reality bites

    JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG, JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, and JUSTICE KAGAN join, dissenting.
    ---

    Well, this is a dissenting foursome that you will probably never see again. I cannot believe Breyer didn't stick with the lefties on this. Very, very unusal. This ruling along with the Obamacare ruling and the ruling that the government can use emminent domain to seize property from citizens because it would be able to get more tax revenue from another owner are very dangerous signs for this country.

    I consider myself libertarian/conservative on most issues and I think these types of rulings entrusts FAR FAR too much to a government that has become so large that most people simply cannot challenge it or resist it when it goes over the line, as in the case of the IRS abuses. I believe the result of this ruling will be disasterous in terms of people trusting their government.

    June 3, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. just askin

    Sniffit
    And yet again, the conservatives on the court get it shamefully wrong.
    --

    david breyer is a conservative? are you kidding???

    June 3, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Not every felony is a violent one. I think and know this ruling is an overreach and will eventually be abused.

    June 3, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Donna

    Surveillance cameras everywhere, soon drones overhead watching you everywhere, all of your financial transactions recorded and tracked, your phone with a GPS locator, your car with a recording device which cannot be removed or disabled, and now your dna can be taken from you.

    Does ANYBODY seriously think this is the country our Founding Fathers envisioned? Freedom and liberty?? Where will the line be drawn on this insanity. And who will draw it? More likely their resistance will be detected and they will be locked up for future crimes against the hive.

    June 3, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "david breyer is a conservative? are you kidding???"

    The conservatives were still the majority of the 5 who ruled in this manner. Heck, Scalia dissented, but this is still the conservative Court's baby.

    June 3, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Tommy G

    If we keep this up, we sure won't have to worry about immigrants from all over the world storming our borders to come live in the land of the free. We are looking like China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba more and more.

    Our Constitution gave our government very limited and defined powers but after over 200 years of constant government expansion and power creep, the power of the People is being usurped bit, by bit, bit bit, with every new law, with every new ruling like this that TRUSTS the government with more and more power, which can and will be abused. Our Second Amendment rights are becoming more and more important to protect as it may ultimately come to that some day. This ruling hastens that day IMO.

    June 3, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Ken

    Well, we've been fingerprinting people who were arrested for years. How is this any different?

    June 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. just askin

    Sniffit
    "david breyer is a conservative? are you kidding???"
    The conservatives were still the majority of the 5 who ruled in this manner. Heck, Scalia dissented, but this is still the conservative Court's baby.
    ---

    but breyer, a liberal, was the deciding vote! he really screwed the country on this one, just like roberts screwed the country on obamacare. i guess there is no such thing as too large or too intrusive government in breyer's mind.

    and where are your compliments for scalia in holding the line on personal freedoms. would it kill you to give the guy credit when it is due?

    June 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. just sayin

    Ken
    Well, we've been fingerprinting people who were arrested for years. How is this any different?
    --

    you are not taking body material. so you would not have no problem now with forced government blood and urine samples as well? no different than forced dna samples right?

    June 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    Whoa.... just sayin, wasn't the majority in this decision the same people you go to bat for on these posts day in and day out? At least your protege' (just askin) had the common courtesy to spin this thing to make it look like it was all the one liberal leaning Justice's fault, who voted for this. What happened to the conservative's small government claims?

    June 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Police should be able to take your fingerprints once you're formally arrested and charged. Too bad the power will surely be abused.

    June 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "and where are your compliments for scalia in holding the line on personal freedoms.

    I noted Scalia's dissent. Given my position on the issue, I should think the compliment is implicit. Stop being so hysterical in your need to try to avoid that the conservatives own this decision. Were the numbers reversed you'd be screeching that the whole decision is due to liberals wanting big gov't. Instead, this exposes conservative hypocrisy and their love of the police state.

    June 3, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    "Were the numbers reversed you'd be screeching that the whole decision is due to liberals wanting big gov't. Instead, this exposes conservative hypocrisy and their love of the police state."

    Big armies. Conservatives actually want a bigger government. They want all of these restrictive rules to control your life, and leave paying taxes to the other guys. Bush proved it. Reagan proved it. The Ryan Plan proves it. They're just in denial about it.

    June 3, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. just sayin

    By 2000, all 50 states and the federal government required DNA collection from convicted offenders, and that was soon expanded by many jurisdiction to criminal arrests.
    Congress in December passed the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act, a grant program to help states pay for the expanded system.
    President Obama signed the bill earlier this year. "It's the right thing to do," he said in 2010, of expanding DNA swabs for arrestees. "This is where the national registry becomes so important."
    ---

    all these statements from the article should send a chill down the spine of every american. this is how your lust for big government can destroy peoples' freedom in just 13 short years, and you all have helped pay for it! it is always the same story, first the government says well, we'll just do it for this sand then it gets expanded and expanded and expanded until now we are paying for this requirement to collect and a national database!

    so do you think the government will stop here? of course not. why not submit samples at birth? i mean it is so easy to do and if it would save just one person from a crime then who are you to say no?

    June 3, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Donna

    WOW!! We have some real role reversal going on here today!!

    It sounds like all the lefties that want and advocate for bigger and bigger government and keep telling us all they can be trusted and there is nothing to worry about, that all those black helicopters are just in our dreams, suddenly have a problem with big government when it suddenly applies to them in a negative way. Too funny! Don't you simpletons get it?!! There is NO SUCH THING as a large, unobtrusive government!! Wake up will you!!

    June 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "that all those black helicopters are just in our dreams"

    They are. Tinfoil hats and all that jazz. There's a difference between expressing a reasonable concern about the SCOTUS appearing to pare down the protections against searches, etc. (something that the federal and state legislatures can address and fix via statute), versus believing that the federal gov't and UN will eventually send thousands of black helicopters to monitor your every bowel movement and shine spotlights on your backyard BBQs in order to further some vague, mythical bogeyman new world order.

    June 3, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "that all those black helicopters are just in our dreams"

    They are. Tinfoil hats and all that jazz.

    June 3, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    I think the US Supreme Court is telling the American people, well you want big government America, here is big government. Obamacare and forcing you to buy a private product or pay a fine, ooops tax, wasn't enough for you? Well, here is something a bit more personal. Enjoy your large government and don't complain to the US Supreme Court. This decision looks like a Cod Liver Oil ruling.

    June 3, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |