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Step Out of the Car: License, Registration, and DNA Please

26 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009 Last revised: 28 Feb 2014

Brian Gallini

University of Arkansas - School of Law

Date Written: May 26, 2009


No Arkansas appellate court has examined the constitutionality of the recently enacted House Bill 1473 – better known as “Juli’s Law” – which allows officers to take DNA samples from suspects arrested for capital murder, murder in the first degree, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, and sexual assault in the second degree. This Essay contends that Juli’s Law violates the Fourth Amendment of the federal constitution. Part I highlights certain features of the statute and explores the rationale underlying its enactment. Part II discusses the only published decision upholding the practice of taking of DNA samples from certain felony arrestees and the rationale for allowing the practice. Part III assesses the possible analytical approaches to evaluating the constitutionality of Juli’s law and concludes that any approach yields the same result: taking DNA swabs from felony arrestees prior to any conviction is unconstitutional.

Keywords: DNA, DNA sample, Fourth Amendment, Criminal law, criminal procedure, constitution, reasonableness, warrant, warrantless, search, arrestee

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14

Suggested Citation

Gallini, Brian, Step Out of the Car: License, Registration, and DNA Please (May 26, 2009). Arkansas Law Review, Vol. 62, p. 475, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Brian Gallini (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - School of Law ( email )

260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States
479-575-6973 (Phone)


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