Feb 252011
 February 25, 2011  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Surveillance

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.

And as Howard Bashman helpfully points out, you can listen to the oral argument .

Via @MarieAndreeW

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