Appeals Court: Police Can Collect DNA from Arrested Suspects

Police officers have the authority to forcibly collect DNA from those they arrest, even if the suspects have not been charged with or convicted of a crime, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled yesterday.

The court upheld a California law, enacted by ballot initiative in 2004, that requires police to swab the inner cheek of anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony. Before that, such DNA samples were collected only from those convicted of felonies.

“Although plaintiffs use the phrase 'DNA profile' to evoke images of an oppressive 'Big Brother' cataloguing our most intimate traits, the reality is far less troubling,” Judge Milan Smith wrote for the majority.

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