Nathan Gorenstein reports:
A federal appeals court in Philadelphia will decide whether it is constitutional for the government to take DNA samples from people arrested, but not convicted of a crime, and keep the specimens on file like fingerprints.
The case applies only to defendants in federal criminal cases, not those convicted of a crime. The federal government started taking DNA samples in 2005.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Irwin, from Pittsburgh, argued that the DNA-sampling program was no different from fingerprinting.
Read more on Philly.com
Brian Bowling of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review also covers the case:
U.S. District Judge David Cercone ruled in November 2009 that the government needs a warrant to collect Mitchell’s DNA before a conviction.
Federal prosecutors appealed his ruling. A three-judge panel heard oral arguments, but the appeals court decided in October to have a full panel hear arguments before ruling.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case. A government brief argues that the federal database contains only “junk” DNA markers that identify a person’s gender but provide no other genetic information. Opponents say the government keeps the DNA sample on file, providing access to far more data.
Read more in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.