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July 19, 2012

Chief Justice blocks Maryland ruling precluding DNA collection from arrestees

As reported in this AP article, "Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is allowing police in Maryland to resume collecting DNA samples from people arrested for serious crimes."  Here is more:

Roberts on Wednesday issued an order that temporarily blocked a Maryland court ruling that effectively barred the collection of genetic material from criminal suspects without a warrant. The order was issued at the state's request in the case of Alonzo King Jr.

King was convicted of a 2003 rape based on DNA evidence taken after his arrest on assault charges in 2009. The sample matched DNA collected from the victim in the 2003 attack.

Roberts said his order will remain in effect at least until King responds to the state's arguments. Roberts set a July 25 deadline for the response.

July 19, 2012 at 03:13 AM | Permalink


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good. about time one of these jokers did some REAL legal work! and actually SUPPORTED the constution!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 19, 2012 2:22:22 PM

Why isn't this sort of thing posted on the USSC website? There is a page for in chambers opinions but they never post them there. I have to get links from SCOTUSBlog or something.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 20, 2012 11:22:53 AM

Terrible case for this issue to arise in. The question of whether you can be required to provide DNA upon arrest (even if charges are dismissed, or you are later acquitted) should be considered in light of a 1983 suit by a group of arrestees for minor crimes who were never convicted. That is where the real constitutional harm comes, and that is what the focus should be.

If the court takes up the issue in this case, the "ends justifying the means" temptation will be very strong, as the State will argue that "because it worked (i.e., because a rapist was caught and prosecuted), it should be constitutional." The problem with that analysis, of course, is that it has no limit. If the government maintained video cameras and audio transmitters inside our homes and/or tossed our houses at random every once and a while (like prison cells), they would catch more criminals too. But the reduction in general liberty is not worth the price of a bit more security.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 20, 2012 2:16:02 PM

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