Supreme Court Temporarily Reinstates Maryland’s Collection of Arrestee DNA

A July 18 Baltimore Sun article discusses the recent announcement by the United States Supreme Court allowing Maryland to resume collecting DNA from those arrested but not convicted of certain violent crimes.  The announcement is seen by some as an indication that the Supreme Court may take up the issue.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned a State law allowing for the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for certain violent crimes.  The holding required State and county law enforcement and corrections officials to suspend their collection activities and cast uncertainty about the validity of past prosecutions resulting from arrestee DNA.  DNA collection of convicted individuals was not affected by the Court of Appeals ruling.

As reported in the Sun:

Wednesday’s one-sentence order from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is temporary, intended to give opponents of the law a chance to respond before the court makes a more definitive ruling. The uncertainty about what will happen next had led to confusion in law enforcement circles about whether police should immediately reinstate the practice.

Still, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Roberts’ action is a hopeful sign that the Supreme Court is ready to have the final say on the high-profile matter. Maryland’s highest court ruled in April that taking the samples before a suspect is convicted violates their Fourth Amendment rights.  …

The article also discusses the uncertainty that remains among State and local officials as to whether to resume collections or wait until the Supreme Court makes a definitive decision on whether it will address the issue.

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