Much like getting your fingerprints taken and saved on file, if you are arrested for a felony your DNA will be saved too.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in a 2-1 decision that a 2004 California law requiring officials to collect DNA samples of criminals is constitutional because it is not an unreasonable search.
Since DNA evidence can be used to solve crimes, Judge Milan Smith wrote:
“DNA analysis is an extraordinarily effective tool for law enforcement to identify arrestees, solve past crimes, and exonerate innocent suspects.”
Not everyone is happy with the ruling, though. Especially four California peeps who asked the court in 2009 to bar the state from collecting DNA samples from people who were arrested but not convicted. Their request was denied and this decision confirms that California will stockpile DNA samples regardless of guilt.
While California Attorney General Kamala Harris called the decision “a victory for public safety in California,” Judge William Fletcher disagrees.
He argued that fingerprints are taken to identify a person when arrested, but DNA samples “are taken solely for an investigative purpose, without a warrant or reasonable suspicion.”
If this DNA database can help catch more criminals, then we say go for it. At the same time, this could be the beginning of a dystopian future that Phillip K. Dick would write about.