U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has temporarily lifted the ban on the collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a violent crime or burglary in Maryland, according to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun. Several law enforcement agencies have resumed their collection of genetic samples while they await further word from the high Court while others are still determining what steps to take.
In April 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered law enforcement agencies to stop collecting DNA samples from those who had been arrested for violent crimes or burglaries. The court ruled that, unlike collecting fingerprints, DNA samples provided too much personal information to law enforcement and that therefore collecting them was a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of a person who had not been convicted of the crime. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ordered that the collections could continue while it considered the constitutional issues involved.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections has said that it will go back to collecting DNA samples. Supporters say that the samples are a source of valuable information that would be lost if they did not collect samples. Other law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff’s Department in Hartford County, have decided to wait for the Supreme Court’s final ruling before taking any more samples, concerned about the privacy implications of doing so.
If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of a Maryland felony or other criminal charge, you have certain legal rights. At Alpert Schreyer, our knowledgeable Maryland felony defense attorneys are dedicated to helping you protect those rights and seek the best possible outcome in court. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (866) 444-6363.