The Mismatch between Probable Cause and Partial Matching

Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Vol. 118, p. 182, 2009

5 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2013

See all articles by Natalie Ram

Natalie Ram

University of Maryland Carey School of Law

Abstract

In December 2008, the Department of Justice authorized federal officials to collect and retain DNA from persons merely arrested on probable cause of being involved in a federal offense. This rule exacerbates the tension between the shared nature of genetic information and the standards justifying DNA collection and retention. That is so because close genetic relatives have similar "genetic motifs," and thus a partial match between a crime scene sample and a stored genetic profile may also implicate family members — including individuals for whom no probable cause has yet existed with respect to any crime. Implicit inclusion of offenders’ close genetic relatives via source-excluding partial matching is therefore inconsistent with a probable cause standard. If the Executive is serious about establishing probable cause as the relevant baseline for the collection and use of genetic information for law enforcement purposes, then it ought to ensure that source-excluding partial matching does not occur.

Keywords: Law, DNA, familial searching, partial matching, probable cause

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Ram, Natalie, The Mismatch between Probable Cause and Partial Matching. Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Vol. 118, p. 182, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2298297

Natalie Ram (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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