DNA Tests and Databases in Criminal Justice Individual Rights and the Common Good

DNA and the Criminal Justice System: The Technology of Justice, David Lazer, editor, (MIT Press, 2004) pp. 197-223

27 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

This chapter examines several issues raised by the extensive use of DNA tests and databases in advancing public safety. The examination draws on a communitarian perspective that balances the common good with individual rights rather than presuming that rights routinely trump the common good.

Specifically, the chapter examines major arguments made by critics who oppose extensive usages of DNA tests and especially the retention of results (or the samples from which the results were drawn) in databases for law enforcement purposes. (To, save breath I shall refer to "DNA usages" from here on.) Most of the criticisms come from civil libertarians. Although none seem to completely oppose DNA usages, all demand that the state be greatly limited in conducting DNA testing, in storing the results, and in drawing on them. The critics' basic approach is to combine a general distrust of the government with a strong commitment to the value of being let alone

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, DNA Tests and Databases in Criminal Justice Individual Rights and the Common Good (2004). DNA and the Criminal Justice System: The Technology of Justice, David Lazer, editor, (MIT Press, 2004) pp. 197-223. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2157183

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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