July 30, 2012 -
The California Law that requires all arrested felons, regardless of whether they were convicted or not, to submit their biometric data including DNA samples will be reviewed by the Federal Appeals court. A panel composed of three judges upheld the law initially, but now the law will be reviewed by a separate group composed of 11 Federal Court judges.
The U.S. 9th Circuit court of Appeals will review the split decision made by the three judges allowing the implements of the law in February. This review will be a major setback for state prosecutor’s advocating the use of the law. They argue that DNA collection is a vital tool in fighting crime and in properly identifying criminals within the system. The California law requires that a person arrested by law enforcement agencies in the state will be swabbed and their DNA samples will be entered into a criminal database where it will be stored and then compared to other samples collected from crime scenes.
One reason for the Federal Court review is the protest filed by three persons who were arrested but never convicted. Among the three complainants, two of them were released without charges being filed but the DNA samples were already obtained by the state. Arguments over the law and violation of constitutional rights have risen as it essentially protects a person from unlawful search and seizures.
People who were not convicted but had their DNA collected could apply to have their samples removed from the database. However, to have their records expunged is a long process and often, uncertain and fairly expensive. Also, they will be asked to submit the same samples in the event of a subsequent arrest.
Is DNA sampling crucial in the war against crime?