Supreme Court: DNA Samples Can Be Taken From Arrestees Without Warrant

  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    Jun 04, 2013 9:10 AM GMT
    Supreme Court: DNA Samples Can Be Taken From Arrestees Without Warrant

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/supreme-court-dna-samples_n_3378379.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037
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    Jun 04, 2013 10:42 AM GMT
    metta8 saidSupreme Court: DNA Samples Can Be Taken From Arrestees Without Warrant

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/supreme-court-dna-samples_n_3378379.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037


    It's telling who was dissenting and who was for the government intrusion.
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    Jun 04, 2013 11:22 AM GMT
    In the UK, for many years now , the law has allowed a DNA sample to be taken from an arrested person. It is simply a natural progression from the traditional taking of a suspect's fingerprints and photograph.

    DNA has revolutionised the detection of crime. The civil liberties of arrested persons have to be balanced against those of victims.
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    Jun 04, 2013 11:26 AM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidIn the UK, for many years now , the law has allowed a DNA sample to be taken from an arrested person. It is simply a natural progression from the traditional taking of a suspect's fingerprints and photograph.

    DNA has revolutionised the detection of crime. The civil liberties of arrested persons have to be balanced against those of victims.


    Except for the fact that a cheek swab is far more intrusive. This has very little to do with victims given that these are those who have not even been convicted. It works when you have absolute trust in government and the police, but that's rarely the case and is open for abuse. And as we have also seen time and time again, temptation often translates into abuse.
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    Jun 04, 2013 11:43 AM GMT
    riddler78 said

    Except for the fact that a cheek swab is far more intrusive. This has very little to do with victims given that these are those who have not even been convicted. It works when you have absolute trust in government and the police, but that's rarely the case and is open for abuse. And as we have also seen time and time again, temptation often translates into abuse.


    If anything, the taking of DNA is less intrusive than fingerprint taking. A DNA sample involves having a cotton bud gently rubbed on the inside your cheek for about 2 seconds. Having your fingerprints taken requires the person taking them to grab each of your fingers, roll it onto an inked plate and then roll it on a fingerprint form. Then all the fingers are inked together and printed again. The whole process takes 10 to 15 minutes, plus another 5 minutes of cleaning the ink from your fingers.

    How is properly regulated DNA retention any more open to abuse than the retention of fingerprints or photographs?

    Here is what our own Supreme Court said in dismissing a Human Rights appeal against the retention of post-arrest fingerprints and DNA samples, where the suspect was later acquitted:

    "The retention of the fingerprints and samples was objectively justified:
    (i) the fingerprints and samples were kept only for the limited purpose of the detection, investigation, and prosecution of crime;
    (ii) the fingerprints and samples were not of any use without a comparator fingerprint or sample from the crime scene;
    (iii) the fingerprints and samples would not be made public;
    (iv) a person was not identifiable to the untutored eye simply from the profile on the database, any interference represented by the retention being minimal;
    (v) on the other hand, the resultant expansion of the database by the retention conferred enormous advantages in the fight against serious crime."

    The 'trust in government' argument would be appropriate if we were talking about, say, China or Russia, but I think there are sufficient legal safeguards to militate in favour of a criminal DNA database in a western democracy.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Jun 04, 2013 5:19 PM GMT
    This ruling could be used to greatly improve the ailing US economy. If the US took DNA samples from everyone born in the US or entering it, it would require the training and hiring of 100s of thousands of DNA technicians, and a vast expansion of DNA labs. The court majority stressed that the legality should be based on reasonableness. Congress could easily come up with reasons for universal DNA testing: the availability of curing people when new disease treatments are developed; the ability to find potential tissue donors; the ability to identify otherwise unknown dead bodies or people with amnesia; the ability for adopted kids to identify their parents. Our congress which adopted the Patriot Act could easily find all these, and many other purposes, to be reasonable. An added cooincidental benefit would be that most crimes would be solvable.
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    Jun 04, 2013 6:04 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said
    riddler78 said

    Except for the fact that a cheek swab is far more intrusive. This has very little to do with victims given that these are those who have not even been convicted. It works when you have absolute trust in government and the police, but that's rarely the case and is open for abuse. And as we have also seen time and time again, temptation often translates into abuse.


    If anything, the taking of DNA is less intrusive than fingerprint taking. A DNA sample involves having a cotton bud gently rubbed on the inside your cheek for about 2 seconds. Having your fingerprints taken requires the person taking them to grab each of your fingers, roll it onto an inked plate and then roll it on a fingerprint form. Then all the fingers are inked together and printed again. The whole process takes 10 to 15 minutes, plus another 5 minutes of cleaning the ink from your fingers.

    How is properly regulated DNA retention any more open to abuse than the retention of fingerprints or photographs?

    Here is what our own Supreme Court said in dismissing a Human Rights appeal against the retention of post-arrest fingerprints and DNA samples, where the suspect was later acquitted:

    "The retention of the fingerprints and samples was objectively justified:
    (i) the fingerprints and samples were kept only for the limited purpose of the detection, investigation, and prosecution of crime;
    (ii) the fingerprints and samples were not of any use without a comparator fingerprint or sample from the crime scene;
    (iii) the fingerprints and samples would not be made public;
    (iv) a person was not identifiable to the untutored eye simply from the profile on the database, any interference represented by the retention being minimal;
    (v) on the other hand, the resultant expansion of the database by the retention conferred enormous advantages in the fight against serious crime."

    The 'trust in government' argument would be appropriate if we were talking about, say, China or Russia, but I think there are sufficient legal safeguards to militate in favour of a criminal DNA database in a western democracy.


    You are unfairly arguing convenience as a measure of intrusiveness. One is not the other. By that logic, a quick fisting to biopsy a suspect's intestines shouldn't be an issue, as long as it takes less time than fingerprinting. Bending over is not less intrusive just because you don't have to wait for it.