TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jun 3, 2013

A divided U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the power of government at all levels to take DNA samples from persons legally arrested for a “serious” new crime, SCOTUSblog reports. What a suspect may have done in the past, the court majority ruled, is a part of the profile that police may constitutionally begin to assemble at the time of arrest for a separate offense. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for a five-four majority, said the practice is akin to taking a suspect’s fingerprints or mug shot. But Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the dissenters, said the ruling cast aside a long-standing rule that police may not take scientific samples involuntarily from an individual, if the only purpose is to solve a prior crime.