Monday, June 03, 2013

Maryland v. King decided 5-4, allowing DNA swabs on arrest

The Court, per Kennedy, says it's like fingerprinting and photographing.

Justice Scalia authors the dissent, joined by Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor.

The opinion is here.

The issue presented to the Court was: "Whether the Fourth Amendment allows the states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested and charged with serious crimes."

More to follow.

 In the meantime, check out SCOTOSBlog

UPDATE -- the intro of Scalia's dissent:

The Fourth Amendment forbids searching a person for evidence of a crime when there is no basis for believing the person is guilty of the crime or is in possession of incrimi nating evidence. That prohibition is categorical and with out exception; it lies at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment. Whenever this Court has allowed a suspicionless search, it has insisted upon a justifying motive apart from the investigation of crime.

It is obvious that no such noninvestigative motive exists in this case. The Court’s assertion that DNA is being taken, not to solve crimes, but to identify those in the State’s custody, taxes the credulity of the credulous. And the Court’s comparison of Maryland’s DNA searches to other techniques, such as fingerprinting, can seem apt only to those who know no more than today’s opinion has chosen to tell them about how those DNA searches actually work. 

And from the conclusion:

Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; 
then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane 
(surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the “identity” of the flying public), 
applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school. Perhaps the construction of such a genetic 
panopticon is wise. But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our
liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.

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