DNA Case Holding Will Likely Result in Contentious Session Debate

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland Court of Appeals recently held that State law requiring the collection of DNA samples from an individual arrested for a crime or violence or felony burglary was a violation against the individual’s constitutional rights.  The ruling has forced both local jails and the State to halt DNA collections of arrestees (collection of DNA from those convicted of certain crimes is not affected).  The State law, which was already going to sunset in 2013 without further action by the General Assembly, will likely be a contentious topic during next year’s Session.

Dan Rodricks, Julie Rubin and Jim Astrachan discuss the DNA holding on the April 26 podcast of WYPR’s Midday on the Law, as well as a federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals holding that finds DNA collection from arrestees is constitutional.  [DNA discussion starts at the 20-minute mark of the podcast.]

An April 27 Gazette.net article examines the likelihood that the DNA collection law will be discussed during the 2013 Session and may also be considered by the United States Supreme Court.

A push to pass a new version of a state DNA law, which was overturned this week by the state’s highest court, will be hotly contested, supporters and opponents say.  …

“It’s a very interesting, difficult, controversial subject. We want to give law enforcement the tools they need, but obviously, we’re restrained by what the Constitution requires,” [Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair Brian] Frosh said. “It’s going to be a hot topic in the next session.”  …

State police and other law-enforcement agencies are urging the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

In a joint statement issued Wednesday, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said the appeals court overturned a major tool that has proved useful to law enforcement, with 190 cases solved through DNA samples taken at the time of arrest.

April 27 Patch.com article on Baltimore County Police ending their collection of arrestee DNA

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