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Bauman: Warrantless DNA and a Whole New Meaning to the Strip Search

Bauman: Warrantless DNA and a Whole New Meaning to the Strip Search

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The DNA Act allows federal law enforcement agencies the power to collect and analyze arrestees’ and pretrial detainees’ DNA at their discretion. While the DNA Act does not mandate DNA collection of arrestees and pretrial detainees, the U.S. Attorney General has required every U.S. agency to perform such collection. Additionally, the Third Circuit held that the warrantless, pretrial collection and testing of DNA complies with the Fourth Amendment. In United States v. Mitchell, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit considered the constitutionality of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act (“DNA Act”) in the Fourth Amendment context.
This Comment argues that the Third Circuit erred in holding that the warrantless, pretrial collection and testing of DNA complies with the Fourth Amendment. Arrestees and pretrial detainees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their DNA and warrantless, pretrial collection and analysis of a defendant’s DNA is unconstitutional. The court failed to heed Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and created a dangerous precedent attempting to justify DNA collections that further criminal investigative efforts.
The DNA Act allows federal law enforcement agencies the power to collect and analyze arrestees’ and pretrial detainees’ DNA at their discretion. While the DNA Act does not mandate DNA collection of arrestees and pretrial detainees, the U.S. Attorney General has required every U.S. agency to perform such collection. Additionally, the Third Circuit held that the warrantless, pretrial collection and testing of DNA complies with the Fourth Amendment. In United States v. Mitchell, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit considered the constitutionality of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act (“DNA Act”) in the Fourth Amendment context.
This Comment argues that the Third Circuit erred in holding that the warrantless, pretrial collection and testing of DNA complies with the Fourth Amendment. Arrestees and pretrial detainees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their DNA and warrantless, pretrial collection and analysis of a defendant’s DNA is unconstitutional. The court failed to heed Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and created a dangerous precedent attempting to justify DNA collections that further criminal investigative efforts.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: New England Law Review on Apr 17, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/28/2013

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