Many states allow police to collect DNA samples from people who have been arrested. But others see that as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Now, the Supreme Court will step in.
The issue arises in the case of Alonzo King, who was arrested in southern Maryland in 2009 on an assault charge.As part of his processing by police, officers used a swab to collect a sample of his saliva from his cheek. The sample yielded an identifying DNA profile which was fed into a national database.Mr. King’s DNA profile was found to match the DNA profile of the person who robbed and raped a woman in the same area of southern Maryland in 2003.Armed with that information, authorities applied for a search warrant and obtained a second swab of King’s cheek. The second sample also matched the DNA evidence from the 2003 rape. King was charged with the rape and robbery.Prior to the trial, his lawyer moved to invalidate the use of the DNA evidence because it allegedly violated King’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The judge denied the motion. King was convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life in prison.