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Supreme Court Hearing on Crime Suspects' DNA Looms

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.