NEW YORK (PIX11) – DNA testing is already the norm across the country for suspects following their conviction.
But a landmark Supreme Court ruling now gives law enforcement the power to swab someone’s cheek for a DNA sample right after their arrest for any serious crime.
The majority’s 5-to-4 decision ruled the swab could be used as an investigative tool for identification and booking purpose before any jury verdict and prior to any conviction.
Justice Samuel Alito described this as “the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”
Conservative Antonin Scalia, who joined three liberal justices in a dissenting opinion, said with this decision the court has embraced a terrifying principle.
“Make no mistake about it, an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database, if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason”, said Justice Scalia.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams who’s leading the charge in city council to curb the NYPD’s ability to stop and frisk says he’s worried about those DNA swabbed suspects who are ultimately cleared of committing any crime.-
“But I think after someone is cleared, my concern then becomes what happens to that information and how long does it stay in the database. I don’t know that we want to get into a society where all this information is stored in perpetuity, because the government. I think it gets a little funky in what the government can and can’t do with information it has stored up”, Councilman Williams told Pix11’s Jay Dow.
“It allows the police to search for evidence of unsolved crimes by taking DNA samples from people they have no reason to suspect they have any relationship to those crimes,” said Steven Shapiro of the ACLU.