Maryland Court Condemns Routine Collection of DNA from Arrestees

The Maryland DNA Collection Act authorizes law enforcement officials, acting without a warrant, to collect DNA samples from individuals that have been arrested, but not yet convicted, for crimes of violence or burglary or attempts to commit those crimes. In a recent decision involving an individual whose DNA sample was taken when he was arrested for assault, allowing him was later to be linked to an unsolved rape case, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the arrestee’s expectation of privacy–the expectation that he would be free from warrantless, suspicionless searches of his biological material–outweighed the government’s interest in using a secondary method to identify the arrestee, when, in fact, the State actually obtained the biological material in order to use it for general investigatory purposes. King v. State, No. 68 (Md. Ct. App. Apr. 24, 2012).

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