Maryland v. King: Supreme Court Rules on DNA Collection from Arrestees
The U.S. Supreme Court has recently validated laws permitting law enforcement to take DNA samples from criminal suspects after they have been arrested for serious crimes. Without exaggeration, this is one of the most important criminal procedure cases that the Court has decided in decades.
The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Maryland v. King that routine collection of DNA during arrest is not an illegal search and, accordingly, is permissible under the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether taking DNA specimens from individuals who have been arrested for serious offenses were unconstitutional searches. The Court likened the collection of DNA to fingerprinting and photographing arrestees, and ruled that it is a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s approval of these DNA collection practices by a razor-thin margin further limits Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. It has far-reaching implications for suspects across the U.S. and for the technology involved in criminal procedure.
Ohio law regarding DNA collection states that a person who is eighteen years or older and is arrested for a felony offense shall submit a DNA specimen. The Supreme Court decision appears to validate the Ohio DNA collection law, since it is restricted to those arrested for felonies, which are considered serious crimes.
If you have been accused of any crime, contact a knowledgeable Ohio criminal defense attorney who can vigorously defend your rights.