DNA testing for felons upheld by SCOTUS

PDT Sports Report

June 3, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today applauded the United States Supreme Courts ruling in Maryland v. King, which upheld the collection of DNA from persons arrested for felonies as constitutional. DeWine signed an amicus brief in support of the Maryland law, which is similar to Ohio’s law, Senate Bill 77.

“Senate Bill 77 yielded immediate results to Ohio law enforcement officers in identifying suspects to unsolved violent crimes, by comparing DNA profiles of felony arrestees with cases in the CODIS database” DeWine said. “I wholeheartedly agree with the Court’s majority that just like fingerprinting and photographing, collecting DNA is ‘a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.’”

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, mentioned the efforts of Attorney General DeWine and BCI to reduce DNA turnaround time as evidence that DNA collection is a highly effective law enforcement tool.

“From an investigator’s standpoint that is huge,” Scioto County Sheriff’s Captain David Hall said. “Because we can take DNA from suspects and send that to the database, and it could be from an unsolved homicide or an unsolved burglary, and compare that with thousands and thousands of different standards. It’s big for us.”

Citing DeWine’s announcement that BCI had reduced DNA turnaround time from 125 days in December of 2010 to 20 days in January of 2013, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the court’s decision, “The question of how long it takes to process identifying information obtained from a valid search goes only to the efficacy of the search for its purpose of prompt identification… Even so, the delay in processing DNA from arrestees is being reduced to a substantial degree.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.