Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer, Kevin J. Mahoney, Discusses the Legality of DNA Sampling
Early next year, the Supreme Court will be faced with a question with regard to DNA evidence: Can the police collect a DNA sample from a violent crime suspect – a person arrested for, but not convicted of a violent crime; a person who is presumed innocent – and use that evidence against him? To answer this question, the Court has agreed to hear an appeal in the case of Maryland v. King.
Maryland v. King
Alonzo Jay King was arrested in 2009 for assault. After his arrest, the police took a DNA sample from him, without a search warrant, pursuant to Maryland’s DNA Collection Act. This sample connected King to a rape committed years earlier. King was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the rape.
King appealed his conviction to the Maryland Court of Appeals. He argued that the state’s DNA Collection Act was unconstitutional because it allowed an unreasonable search and seizure of extremely private information, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Maryland court agreed and overturned the conviction. The State of Maryland appealed to the Supreme Court.
To avoid “irreparable harm” to the State of Maryland, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered that the DNA Collection Act remain in effect during the appeals process, and indicated that the Court would likely uphold the law as constitutional. The decision in this case will have a long reach: the collection of DNA samples is an important part of day-to-day law enforcement operations; numerous other states have laws similar to Maryland’s; and the FBI, too, maintains a national DNA database.
The Supreme Court likely will hear arguments on the case in early 2013, and hand down a decision in June.
Contact Boston criminal defense lawyer, Kevin J. Mahoney
If you are facing criminal charges, an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer can review the evidence against you, evaluate your legal options, and speak with a strong voice on your behalf. If you would like my counsel, call (617) 492-0055 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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