UNITED STATES NEWS

Court: California can force inmates to submit DNA

Feb 23, 2012, 8:37 PM

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A divided federal appeals court ruled Thursday that California law enforcement officials can keep collecting DNA samples from people arrested for felonies.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said law enforcement’s interest in solving cold cases, identifying crime suspects and even exonerating the wrongly accused outweigh any privacy concerns raised by the forced DNA collections.

The 2-1 ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by four Californians who were arrested on felony charges but never convicted.

The arrestees sought a court order barring collection of DNA from people who are arrested but not convicted, arguing the process is an unconstitutional search and seizure since some suspects will later be exonerated.

The DNA samples are obtained with a swab of the cheek and stored in the state’s DNA database, which contains 1.9 million profiles. Arrestees who are never charged with a felony can apply to have their samples expunged from the database.

The state Department of Justice said it has had roughly 20,000 “hits” connecting suspects with previous crimes since it began collecting the DNA profiles.

Judge Mylan Smith Jr., writing for the two-judge majority, said the useful law enforcement tool wasn’t any more intrusive than fingerprinting.

“Law enforcement officers analyze only enough DNA information to identify the individual, making DNA collection substantially similar to fingerprinting, which law enforcement officials have used for decades to identify arrestees, without serious constitutional objection,” wrote Smith, who also said investigators are prohibited by law from misusing the database.

Judge William Fletcher dissented, writing that fingerprinting a suspect is done exclusively for identification purposes. The DNA samples, he wrote, “are taken solely for an investigative purpose, without a warrant or reasonable suspicion.”

Fletcher noted that one-third of the 300,000 people arrested in the state for felonies each year are never charged with felonies. He said the state’s offer to remove those samples from the database for those who apply is onerous.

“Expungement is a lengthy, uncertain and expensive process, Fletcher said. “Arrestees seeking expungement must pay their own expenses and attorney’s fees.”

Fletcher said he believed the privacy rights of arrestees never charged with felonies should trump law enforcement’s need to collect to the DNA.

The same issue is also making its way through the state court system. A Court of Appeal decision striking down the collection as unconstitutional was put on hold when the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a Pentagon press briefing at the Pentagon on Fe...

Associated Press

Defense chief on the defensive: Lawmakers to confront Austin on secret hospital stay

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will face Congress publicly for the first time Thursday to explain his failure to quickly notify the president and other senior leaders about his hospitalization last month for complications from prostate cancer surgery. He is expected to hear some sharp questions and criticism from members of the House […]

11 minutes ago

Traffic enter and leave mid-town Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Ne...

Associated Press

NYC’s plan to ease gridlock and pump billions into mass transit? A $15 toll for Manhattan drivers

NEW YORK (AP) — Between bridge and tunnel tolls, parking fees and the ever-present risk of getting a traffic ticket, it can already cost a mint to drive into Manhattan. Is forking over another $15 for the privilege of driving into the most traffic-choked parts of the island enough to finally get more people out […]

19 minutes ago

FILE - Firefighters extinguish a fire after a Russian attack on a residential neighborhood in Khark...

Associated Press

US adults fracture along party lines in support for Ukraine military funding, AP-NORC poll finds

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Russia makes battlefield advances and Ukrainian soldiers run short on ammunition, U.S. adults have become fractured along party lines in their support for sending military aid to Kyiv, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Democrats are more likely to say the U.S. government […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

DEMING, N.M. (AP) — A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona, according to New Mexico State Police. The 13-year-old turned up at a Walmart in Deming on Tuesday after going missing the night before from his family’s home in Tucson. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

UN appeals for $674 million as gang violence in Haiti escalates with killings and sexual violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Indiscriminate violence in Haiti is escalating — especially in the capital and surrounding region — with armed gangs carrying out killings and acts of sexual violence, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the conflict-wracked Caribbean nation said Wednesday. Ulrika Richardson told U.N. reporters in a virtual press conference from the Haitian […]

4 hours ago

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds up a phone that displays a map of illegal cannabis stores as entre...

Associated Press

Struggling to stop illegal cannabis stores, New York governor asks online sites to hide them

NEW YORK (AP) — After failing to wipe illegal cannabis dispensaries off the map, New York is asking online sites to hide them. Since the state legalized marijuana in 2021, unlicensed pot shops have proliferated across New York City, with limited pushback from authorities. On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul called on online map and social […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Court: California can force inmates to submit DNA