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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Time to Swab?

North Carolina law requires the collection  of a person's DNA upon the arrest of certain offenses, including those arrested for criminal charges in Mecklenburg County. This is upon arrest and not conviction. You can read the North Carolina statute here

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week surrounding a similar law in Maryland. Click here for a summary of the case. Justice Alito acknowledged the importance of this case:
"I think this is perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this Court has heard in decades..This is what is at stake: Lots of murders, lots of rapes that can be solved using this new technology that involves a very minimal intrusion on personal privacy."
A minimal intrusion on personal privacy isn't necessarily the concern. Unlike the case where a catheter was used to test for marijuana use, having the inside of your mouth swabbed is not much of an intrusion. The intrusion is the government having a person's DNA sample before being convicted of any crime. Justice Scalia  had an interesting point after hearing that Maryland obtained 42 convictions based upon samples taken from people arrested in their state
"Well, that’s really good. I’ll bet you if you conducted a lot of unreasonable searches and seizures, you’d get more convictions, too. That proves absolutely nothing."
 It is an interesting term for the Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment. Between this case and the Court  hearing whether blood draws can be taken without a warrant, the Fourth Amendment is being challenged  this year.

Mecklenburg Criminal Law Updates Provided By Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen PLLC (888)543-2427

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