Supreme Court Ruling on DNA Samples
The Supreme Court ruled today that anyone who’s under arrest — regardless of the reason — can be required to provide a DNA sample.
I personally don’t see a problem with this ruling. As Anthony Kennedy said — writing for the five-justice majority — they already take your photo and your fingerprints when you’re under arrest:
“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
What I found most ironic was that Antonin Scalia dissented from the majority. WTF? Yes, the same Antonin Scalia who never met a corporation he didn’t love to coddle, and never met an individual personal freedom he didn’t sneer at. He said:
“Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA when you fly on an airplane — surely the TSA must know the 'identity' of the flying public. For that matter, so would taking your children's DNA when they start public school.”
Glad to see he’s so concerned about our civil liberties.
The one time I was arrested — I was innocent, mind you! — the fact that my fingerprints were taken was the least of my worries. A friend and I were busted after buying LSD from a street dealer in front of the International Marketplace in Waikiki. They told us we were facing six months to two years for possession. To make matters worse, I was in the Navy at the time. You know the drill: jail, then time in the brig for being AWOL (i.e. in jail), then reduction in rank and/or a less-than-honorable discharge.
It turned out the dealer had burned us. Whatever was in those capsules was perfectly legal, so they had to let us go. But not until after I’d spent a brick-shitting night in a jail cell, wondering how I was going to explain my criminal record and less-than-honorable discharge to everyone I knew. Right then, if I’d had to write down the 500 things I was most worried about, the fact that my fingerprints had been taken would have been at the bottom of the list. Same with a DNA sample, if such a thing had existed back then.
The ACLU is against today’s Supreme Court ruling. But the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is in favor of it:
“DNA has already aided nearly 200,000 investigations, and thanks to today's decision it will continue to be a detective's most valuable tool in solving rape cases. We're very pleased that the court recognized the importance of DNA and decided that, like fingerprints, it can be collected from arrestees without violating any privacy rights. Out of every 100 rapes in this country, only three rapists will spend a day behind bars. To make matters worse, rapists tend to be serial criminals, so every one left on the streets is likely to commit still more attacks. DNA is a tool we could not afford to lose.”
Anyway, what’s YOUR take on the Supreme Court’s DNA ruling?
Labels: Supreme Court DNA sample