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Associational Privacy, the Presumption of Innocence, and 'Corruption of Blood' as Constitutional Metaphors in the Debate on 'Familial Searching'

8 Pages Posted: 25 May 2013  

David H. Kaye

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Date Written: November 12, 2012

Abstract

This essay analyzes three constitutional claims about the emerging practice of trawling DNA databases for “near misses” to crime-scene samples that might reflect the fact that the DNA came from a first-degree relative of the nearly matching (but excluded) individual. These claims are that this type of “outer-directed” trawling (which casts suspicion on individual outside the database) is an infringement of constitutionally protected familial privacy, an affront to the presumption of innocence, and an unconstitutional “corruption of blood.” Upon inspection, the relevant constitutional provisions lend no more than metaphorical support to these objections to “familial searching.”

Keywords: DNA databases, familial searching, privacy, presumption of innocence, corruption of blood

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H., Associational Privacy, the Presumption of Innocence, and 'Corruption of Blood' as Constitutional Metaphors in the Debate on 'Familial Searching' (November 12, 2012). American Criminal Law Review Blog, November 2012; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 14-2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269047

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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