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Thread: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    I'm torn on this one.

    On the one hand, they already take fingerprints and keep them. Why is this any different?

    Plus, many of us here, including me, decry the ability for LE to spy into e-mail accounts and such claiming that it is just an updated form of the handwritten and sealed letter, which is still ptotected. So, in the interest of consistency of concept, isn't DNA just an updated version of biometric information similar to the fingerprint that we already allow them to have?

    On the other hand, I fear the potential for abuse, and we have already seen some cases of dishonest lab techs.
    Why do people just say that because they can do one they should be able to do the other? Does no one ever ask why they are allowed to take fingerprints? Does no one realize they are doing exactly what people warn of all the time with the slippery slope?

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    Why do people just say that because they can do one they should be able to do the other? Does no one ever ask why they are allowed to take fingerprints? Does no one realize they are doing exactly what people warn of all the time with the slippery slope?
    As a committed slippery slope theorist I completely understand your point. And don't automatically mistake my post for acceptance or approval. But, at the same time, it's not always an invalid concept, either. In this case I think it is a valid point for discussion.
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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I do have another issue with this, and it's not necessarily related to crime, but let's say a person is arrested and a DNA sample is taken and it's discovered through testing that the individual has AIDS or some other communicable disease.
    That's not how it works.

    They aren't withdrawing 20 vials of blood to do a CBC, six STD tests and a cancer screening. They basically check a small sample of DNA, enough to uniquely identify that individual.

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    not sure i support this one; there's a lot more info to be gleaned from DNA. thoughts on this decision?
    Well, I am mixed on this for the reason you pointed out. Past that however, IF DNA were ruled that it couldn't be taken because of an arrest, then fingerprinting would be next. Someone would bring that to the courts.

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I'm not in the US, but this strikes me as having the potential to abrogate your constitution's defense against self-incrimination. I could understand if it applied to those who were convicted in a court of some crime, as part of their sentence, but how many people in the course of any day are arrested and let go without charges? How many people are rounded up in a protest, to disband a crowd, and then let go? Are these people all going to be swabbed and tested just in case you might strike gold and catch someone?
    So, you are against fingerprinting as well, right?

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    Unless the law requires that the swab can only be used in furtherance of the case in which the individual was arrested, there seems to me no requirement for the police not to store the results in a database and use them in future or other cases.

    What happened to probable cause being required for the police to get a warrant on the suspicion that a person was connected to a crime? In this case, the result is that your DNA will provide a presumption of guilt in all cases until such time as the data clears you of any or all crimes in perpetuity.

    What forces the police to destroy the DNA swab evidence/results after the individual is released or not charged or not convicted of a crime?
    So, you also advocate destroying fingerprint files and mugshots, right?

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    This is a violation of 4th amendment and 5th amendment rights.Swabbing for DNA is a search and it is basically forcing someone to testify against themselves. An arrest doesn't equal guilt.You are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a criminal court of law.Innocent people should not have their constitutional rights violated without a warrant.
    OK, last time I'll bring up fingerprints and mugshots.

    Feel the same way about them by chance?

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    then why is it a problem to get a warrant?
    They already have a warrant.
    Quote Originally Posted by americanwoman View Post
    So there is absolutely no evidence this woman, whom you called a slut, did this but you are ready to take someone's word as evidence. Guess you don't think witch hunts have to end when it's going after the certain people.

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    They already have a warrant.
    In a sense, yes.

    People go overboard with this warrant part. I have to believe the don't understand the constitution.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Once there was a reason for the arrest, it isn't unreasonable.

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    Re: Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    In those cases they are using abandonment laws to get around the fourth amendment.
    You throw something in the trash, you've abandoned it. If you don't want the cops (or the press or your neighbors or some random stranger on the street) to take it, either you need to keep it or destroy it. Your property is no longer protected once it is not your property.


    I don't see how people can see nothing wrong with the government tricking people into giving them their property. It's crazy to me.
    There is always a tension between the needs of the state to gather evidence, and the individual's right to privacy (which, by the way, isn't explicitly protected by the Constitution).

    A decision either way is going to run afoul of one of those two needs.

    Meanwhile, there is a justifiable purpose for law enforcement to gather this evidence. It's unlikely that police are going to pop everyone for a violent felony just to get their DNA in a database.

    Plus, police officers are allowed to use deception and "tricks" in an interrogation, and a defense attorney is entitled to explain to the jury that the defendant was coerced and deceived into confessing.

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