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Supreme Court rules DNA swabs upon arrest legal

by ALISON LEVIER Section Editor

The Supreme Court ruled on June 3 that it is legal for police to take DNA swabs from anyone who is arrested and charged, but not convicted of a serious crime.

The biggest question at hand, obviously, was whether or not this was a constitutional collection of DNA. Many of those involved in the decision relate the sampling of DNA to taking fingerprints, and, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy, it is “like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure.”

The purpose of the DNA samples is to help solve cold cases that have been formerly unsolvable, in addition to freeing innocent people of charges.

In 2009, Alonzo Jay King was arrested and charged with assault, and gave a DNA sample that linked him to a rape committed seven years prior. In 2010, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the rape conviction, because DNA sampling was, at the time, “unconstitutional” by Supreme Court standards.

The question of whether or not this is constitutional was answered this week, when the Supreme Court decided to give the issue a trial of its own. Taking DNA from people who have been arrested is now legal.

While some were pleased with the decision to legalize the DNA sampling, many believed it to be unconstitutional. Really, though, if you do not plan on killing or raping someone, it really is not a big deal to get your DNA taken.

“I do not understand why someone would be opposed to this. I mean, really, as long as you are not a criminal you have nothing to worry about. It is just like if someone were a suspect in a crime, and put up a fight about getting their belongings checked out by the police. As long as you have nothing to hide, why not let the police see your stuff? People who are so defensive about stuff like this should probably reevaluate, or maybe stop worrying about getting arrested. If you do not get arrested in the first place, you have absolutely nothing to worry about,” says sophomore Krystle Danza.

Take the King case, for example. Had the police not taken his DNA, the rape case from earlier this decade would have never been solved, and justice would not have been served to the correct perpetrator. In my eyes, this particular precaution that police take is for the safety of the public, and to solve cases that seemed unsolvable.

“It really is not a big deal to me if my DNA gets taken. Personally, I do not plan on getting arrested in the first place, nor do I have anything to worry about because I am not a criminal. This law seems to only be in place to put criminals away for their crimes, and that is a good thing,” says junior Gabrielle Tumminia.

While King was not prosecuted for rape, it is obvious that he should have been. Had the seizure of DNA been legal a year ago, the rape case would have been closed and the perpetrator would have been rightfully convicted. Now, although the case is somewhat closed, King will never face time for his sex-based crime.

The fact that something like this will not happen again, due to the legalization, is very comforting.

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