On Wired's Threat Level blog, David Kravets describes an upcoming US Supreme Court case that is expected to address whether authorities can take DNA samples from anybody arrested for a serious crime.
According to Kravets, "at least 27 states and the federal government have regulations requiring suspects to give a DNA sample upon some type of arrest, regardless of conviction."
"The upcoming hearing, slated for Feb. 26, has drawn a huge following from civil rights groups, crime victims, federal and state prosecutors and police associations — each arguing their party lines," he writes.
The Supreme Court will be charged with upholding or rejecting a previous decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals in a case involving a man, Alonzo King, who was arrested in 2009 on assault charges, and then convicted for a rape committed years earlier based on a DNA match.
The Maryland court overturned King's conviction, concluding that arrestees do have a Fourth Amendment-guaranteed "weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicionless searches," which is not outweighed by the state's need to accurately identify a suspect via DNA.
According to Kravets, the Supreme Court is probably going to reverse the lower court's conclusion, having suggested as much when it stayed the Maryland decision last July.