The Legality of Retaining Elimination Samples: A Report to the Legal Issues Working Group of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence
6 Pages Posted: 4 May 2012
Date Written: September 19, 2000
Police frequently obtain DNA samples from suspects — voluntarily or by court order — only to discover that these suspects are not the sources of the DNA left at the crime scenes. It has been reported that some law enforcement authorities retain such DNA profiles or samples. Is this practice legal? If so, is it desirable? This report provides some legal background and a framework for discussion of the issue of legality at the September 2000 meeting of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. Part I describes arguments relating to the wording of state statutes that provide for law enforcement DNA databases and DNA repositories. Part II considers the constitutionality of the practice of retaining "elimination samples" in these databases.
Keywords: DNA evidence, elimination samples, databases
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