The bolstered federal database has helped solve thousands of crimes by linking DNA evidence at old crime scenes to newly arrested people.
"Behind every number is a human story, a case in which a buccal swab sample collected from a felony arrestee played a crucial role in solving a violent crime," says a brief submitted by all 49 other states backing Maryland's law.
On the other side is Alonzo Jay King, who was arrested on assault charges in 2009. Police collected DNA from a simple cheek swab and matched it to a 2003 rape case, for which King then was convicted. The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed that decision, ruling that the cheek swab constituted a search without either a warrant or suspicion of another crime. Now the state, backed by the federal government, is challenging that ruling.
The NY Times, on the other hand, says no way:
The state did not, however, obtain a warrant to collect his DNA, nor did it establish that it had probable cause to think that his DNA would link him either to the assault or the rape. It did not even meet the lowest threshold for some searches, by establishing that it had a reasonable basis for taking his DNA, or showing that the DNA evidence would disappear unless it was collected.