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
Date Written: 2004
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
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