Genetic Information and Privacy Interests: The DNA Fingerprinting Act
7 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 18, 2015
For several years, the federal government and most American states have had legislation regarding the collection of DNA, usually from convicted felons. These laws vary significantly from one state to another, but all states share their DNA information with a national database, the FBI Laboratory’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). In 2000, with the enactment of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act, authorities could compel individuals convicted of murder, manslaughter, sexual abuse, child abuse, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit these crimes, to submit a DNA sample. Federal, state, and local law enforcement could also input DNA samples to CODIS and compare them to samples collected elsewhere.
The match of crime scene DNA to an individual by comparison through a database is known as a “cold hit.” Such collection and use of DNA samples raises significant Fourth Amendment concerns. This paper argues that the benefits of collection and use of DNA evidence outweighs the risks associated with it and that the practice is constitutional.
Keywords: DNA, CODIS, Cold Hit
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation