Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Justices Allow DNA Samples after Arrests

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Justices Allow DNA Samples after Arrests

Article excerpt

In a 5-to-4 ruling on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said DNA samples were similar to the photographs and fingerprints taken by police while booking criminal suspects.

The police may take DNA samples from people arrested for serious crimes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision.

"When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, "taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion.

Justice Antonin Scalia summarized his dissent from the bench, a rare move signaling deep disagreement.

"Make no mistake about it: Because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason," Justice Scalia said. …

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