The Constitutionality of DNA Sampling on Arrest: An Interim Report to the Legal Issues Working Group of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence
35 Pages Posted: 4 May 2012
Date Written: January 22, 2000
The Department of Justice created the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence to study the many issues surrounding the use of DNA evidence in the criminal justice system. Attorney General Janet Reno specifically asked the Commission for advice on collecting DNA on arrest. Prepared by the Reporter of the Commission's Legal Issues Working Group, this report discusses the constitutionality of taking, analyzing, and storing DNA samples from individuals who are arrested but not convicted at the time of the sampling. It discusses the reasonableness and warrant clauses of the Fourth Amendment, the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It concludes that these protections probably do not foreclose a carefully constructed system for compelling individuals subject to custodial arrest to supply samples of their DNA. The report was presented to the Commission in 1999, which recommended against widespread adoption of the practice while states were facing large backlogs in processing convicted-offender and crime-scene samples but that the matter be reconsidered in five years.
Keywords: DNA databases, arrest, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment
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