The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld California’s DNA and Forensic Identification Data Base and Data Bank Act (DNA Act) which allows law enforcement officers to collect DNA samples from adults arrested for felonies. Under the DNA Act, before a DNA sample can be taken, law enforcement officers must determine that there is probable cause an individual has committed a felony. Once that is established, a DNA sample can be taken by swabbing the individual’s mouth. If an individual is subsequently not charged with a felony, he or she can apply to have their samples expunged from the DNA database.
In determining its opinion, the Ninth Circuit majority asserted taking a DNA sample is substantially similar to fingerprinting, which law enforcement officials have used for decades — without serious constitutional objection — to identify arrestees. Haskell v. Harris, — F.3d — (9th Cir. (Cal) 2012).
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