In a major victory for law enforcement agencies, a divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled that police can take a DNA sample from someone who has been arrested and charged but not convicted of a serious crime.A "resounding victory for law enforcement"? That just means a devastating loss for anyone without a badge!
On a narrow 5-4 vote the court reversed a decision last April by Maryland's highest court that overturned the 2010 conviction and life sentence of Alonzo Jay King for a rape committed seven years earlier.
The high court, in an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, handed a victory to the state of Maryland by saying taking of DNA samples from arrestees was similar to taking fingerprints. Of the 50 states, 29 have such laws along with the federal government.
DNA samples can be taken if police have probable cause to detain a suspect facing charges relating to a serious offense, Kennedy said.
Taking a sample using a swab of the cheek is "like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure," Kennedy said.
King's right under the U.S. Constitutional Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable search and seizure had therefore not been violated, the justice added.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler welcomed the decision, saying it was a "resounding victory for law enforcement." Laws like the one in Maryland help close "unsolvable cold cases" and can help exonerate those wrongly accused, he added.
So now that SCOTUS has approved of law enforcement taking DNA samples without convicting someone of a crime, it's only a matter of time until the federal government starts demanding all citizens to submit their DNA into a national database.
Yes, that sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory Alex Jones would crap out, but considering the ever-expanding power of the Fed, it hardly seems unfounded.
What I find particularly surprising about this ruling is that Judge Scalia voted against it. Considering his track record on basic civil liberties, there's a chance that pigs are now flying.
Only a matter of time until the neocons at Fox News start painting him as a "progressive liberal communist" over this.