The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which will determine whether the police can collect the DNA of people who are merely arrested for serious crimes. The case involves the rape conviction of Alonzo Jay King Jr. in Maryland. The Maryland Supreme Court threw out his conviction because he was arrested for an unrelated charge years later and a cheek swab was taken which linked him to the rape. 26 states and the federal government routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested. The Maryland Supreme Court ruled that DNA samples contained highly personal information and that the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from having to provide DNA samples before they have been convicted of a crime. In July, Chief Justice John Roberts blocked the Maryland Supreme Court ruling which had been blocking the State of Maryland from collecting DNA from people who have been arrested. Earlier this year, in a 5 to 4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the strip searches of newly arrested citizens. The decision in this case will have national ramifications. Maryland is linked to a national DNA database which stores DNA samples.
Oral arguments will be held in February or March and a decision should be released by June of 2013. The case is Maryland v. King, 12-207.
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