Supreme Court decision upholds TN law on DNA swab by police
June 3, 2013 09:55 PM
Sheriff Daron Hall with Davidson County
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
In a split decision, an U.S. Supreme Court ruling will allow police to legally take DNA from people they arrest without a warrant or a conviction.
The decision upholds Tennessee state law that requires local law enforcement to collect DNA samples from accused violent offenders immediately after arrests.
On Monday, a five-justice majority found DNA swabs to be a legitimate police booking procedure (Maryland v. King).
The ruling essentially equates a cheek swab with fingerprinting, by allowing DNA samples to be taken from individuals arrested for various crimes during police booking procedures, before being proven guilty or not guilty and without a warrant.
That sample can then be entered into and compared to a national database.
All 50 states and the federal government currently take DNA cheek swabs after a conviction. At least 28 states, including Tennessee, and the federal government currently take swabs after arrests.
Since 2009, Tennessee state law has required DNA testing of suspects arrested for specific violent crimes.
In Tennessee, violent crimes include murder, aggravated assault, sexual battery and 14 other offenses.
"When you're being booked in on a certain charge, it has a certain code, then it automatically triggers you to then make sure you get the swab from that offender," said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall.
Sheriff Hall and his office handle the booking process for arrests made by Metro Nashville Police Department.
DCSO obtains cheek swabs, as well as medical screenings, photographs/mugshots, fingerprints, and criminal history searches for accused violent offenders arrested and booked into the Metro jail.
Of the 45,000 people booked into the Metro jail each year, roughly six percent must undergo a DNA cheek swab.
Last month, DCSO collected 231 DNA samples.
"Fingerprints, years and years and years ago, weren't taken," Hall said. "And now they're taken, of course, on everyone, (along with) photographs. It's just kind of a generation that we're in now with technology."
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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