Jun 252009
 June 25, 2009  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

A Las Vegas detective violated an inmate’s constitutional rights by “forcibly extracting” his DNA without a warrant while he was shackled and chained to a bench, the 9th Circuit ruled on a 2-1 vote.

The extraction was requested by Deputy District Attorney Elissa Luzaich, who wanted to put Kenneth Friedman’s DNA sample into a cold-case data bank.


On appeal, the defendants cited a Montana law that purportedly allowed them to take the DNA swab. Friedman had previously pleaded guilty to a sex crime in Montana, served his time and was released before moving to Las Vegas.

But the Montana statute doesn’t apply across state lines, the San Francisco-based federal appeals court noted in tossing this argument.

The court similarly rejected the claim that the swab search was “reasonable.”

“The warrantless, suspicionless, forcible extraction of a DNA sample from a private citizen violates the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Thomas wrote. “The actions of the officers were not justified under the ‘special needs’ exception, reliance on an extraterritorial statute, or on general Fourth Amendment principles.”

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