Federal appeals court rules DNA samples after arrests OK
A divided federal appeals court ruled today that the government has the authority to take DNA samples from people arrested for crimes before they are convicted.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling of U.S. District Judge David Cercone, who found in November 2009 that the government needs a warrant to collect Ruben Mitchell's DNA before his possible conviction.
Mitchell, 42, of Stockton, Calif., was one of 22 people arrested on charges of participating in a California-to-Pittsburgh drug ring. Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh appealed Cercone's ruling to the 3rd Circuit.
In writing for the majority, Judge Julio M. Fuentes wrote that "under the totality of the circumstances, given arrestees' and pretrial detainees' diminished expectations of privacy in their identities and the Government‘s legitimate interests in the collection of DNA from these individuals, we conclude that such collection is reasonable and does not violate the Fourth Amendment."
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