DNA Swab Normal Part of Booking
A ruling made on June 3, 2013, by the Supreme Court of the United States in MARYLAND v. KING might be of interest to some readers. The Court determined that it is lawful to take a DNA swab as a normal part of the booking process for a serious offense.
The case started with the arrest of Alonzo King in 2009 for first and second degree assault charges. Seems like some people didn’t like it when he showed up with a rifle and started bothering them. When being processed into the Wicomico County jail in Maryland, the Corrections Officer obtained a DNA sample with a cheek swab. In Maryland it is perfectly legal to swab those being booked for serious crimes. It is legal in all states to swab during a felony arrest.
When the sample was run through the Federal database, it matched a DNA sample obtained in a rape case from 2003 that was never solved. Armed with the DNA evidence, King was brought to trial on the rape charge.
King’s lawyer objected to the admission of the DNA evidence based upon the fourth Amendment. He claimed it was an unlawful search and challenged the legality of the search. The Judge in the Circuit Court found the search to be legal and the trial ended with his conviction. However, the Maryland Court of Appeals found the search violated King’s constitutional rights.
In their ruling, the majority found that the Fourth Amendment allows for reasonable searches when a suspect is detained and taken to a jail due to a serious offence, thus eliminating the need for a warrant. The check swab is similar to taking a picture or fingerprinting a prisoner. Much as pictures and fingerprinting have improved police work and the justice system in the past, DNA testing can and is vastly improving them now and into the future. Unlike pictures and fingerprinting, DNA evidence seems to be almost completely reliable.
The Court did place several limitations on the retrieval and use of DNA. For example, the retrieval of the DNA should not threaten the detainee’s safety. The method of extraction must minimize pain and shouldn’t require surgery. Until an individual is arraigned for a serious crime, their DNA can’t be added into any database. Furthermore, if the suspect isn’t found guilty their DNA must be eliminated from the system. The fact that a swab is so painless, quick and easy was important to their thinking these searches are reasonable.
On the topic of wage increases, there is an upward trend once again. Of course it couldn’t have gotten much lower. There have been way too many low and no wage increases over the last few years. Even those municipalities that weren’t hurt by the recession could get away with small increases. As the economy continues to slowly improve, wages should continue to increase.
Many of the Eastern Counties are seeing a lot of land being leased or sold for the right to drill wells. Thanks to the process called “Fracking”, some people are getting quite wealthy. Hopefully that wealth will be spread to higher wages as well!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 24 September 2013 05:15)