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From RAINN:

The US Supreme Court this month announced that it will decide whether it is legally permissible for police to take DNA samples from suspects arrested for violent crimes. The case is an appeal of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision in King v. Maryland, which invalidated the state’s DNA collection law. If upheld, the decision would overturn similar laws in 25 states.
In Maryland case, Alonzo King was arrested in 2009 -- and a cheek swab revealed that his DNA matched that from the crime scene of an unsolved 2003 rape. King was convicted of the unsolved crime, but challenges on Fourth Amendment grounds. He claims that the cheek swab was collected from an illegal search.

 

Maryland's court of appeals was split:

The court ruled that people under arrest have the right to a higher level of privacy than someone who is convicted of a crime. The court also said collecting DNA was not necessary to identify King, like fingerprinting.

 The appeals court said collecting DNA was more personally invasive than fingerprinting.

The question, it seems, is about whether a DNA swab is more invasive than a fingerprint. How? Because it potentially gives more information than a fingerprint? Is it more invasive than strip searching?

This decision could potentially decide whether or not police can collect DNA from suspects -- evidence that could protect an innocent person as easily as convict a guilty one. Does DNA fall to a different (legal) standard than other physical evidence?  

About half of the states collect DNA from suspects when they are charged. Some civil rights activists say that it is different than other physical evidence because it reveals a person's genome.

This case is important not only because DNA helps provide hard evidence in violent crimes, but because it protects innocent people from convictions they don't deserve.

See Maryland v. King. Thanks VClib.

Originally posted to rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:35 PM PST.

Also republished by Inherent Human Rights.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yikes! (7+ / 0-)

    "Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

    by KelleyRN2 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:40:30 PM PST

  •  I Am Kind Of Torn Here, Cause Well (11+ / 0-)

    I don't ever think I will do something where the police will want/need my DNA. But on the other hand it seems to me the government is trying to take every right they can away from us. And that once they get some power they want even more. I mean if you want my DNA get a court order. If you don't have the ground to get a court order, well maybe you don't need my DNA.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:42:22 PM PST

    •  Maybe that's the path to take. (6+ / 0-)

      Your DNA isn't going to change while you wait for a court order after all. Perhaps a we need real legal infrastructure to nagivate this -- I don't know. But DNA evidence is a powerful tool in sort out the guilty from the innocent. Giving up a swab could keep you out of prison just as easily as put you in (well, if you're innocent, that is.)

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:45:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What Does Law Enforcement Learn From Your DNA (7+ / 0-)

      that it doesn't learn from your fingerprint? As far as I can tell, at this time all that either of them tell the justice system is that you are absolutely 1 specific human being out of 7 billion.

      Now if Aetna somehow winds up with it, that's a shitload of problem for me.

      Maybe that's the sufficient reason to to worry.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:47:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there are privacy issues in theory. (0+ / 0-)

        All of these can be dealt with using relevant legal infrastructure. (I almost added a Health Care tag for this very reason. To think if we had a robust health care system, a whole lot of the practical reason for concern is moot...)

        Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

        by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:50:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It Is A Tough Call. I Mean I Want People That (5+ / 0-)

        break a law, saying raping a women, to go to jail for a long, long time. But, and I hate to use a phrase often used by the right, but I view it as a "slippery slope." To me the next thing you know we start to have a database of DNA for everybody. Who knows where things do from there.

        I just feel, and I almost sound like Rand Paul here, that if I pay my taxes. I don't break the law. I keep to myself .... well then the government should just leave me alone.

        And if you don't have a court order, I don't really want to give you my DNA. Let you in my house. Have you read my email. Well it is a long list of things I would like to protect.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:53:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Slippery slope is a logical fallacy. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe, misslegalbeagle

          Just sayin'. Your DNA swab can protect you if you're innocent.

          Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

          by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:57:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Completely agree. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb137, webranding, dufffbeer

          Not without a court order.

          The captioned case seems to hinge upon the collection of DNA -- what the defendant argued was an illegal search -- and the "fishing expedition" undertaken to match his DNA to past, unsolved crimes with DNA samples/records on file...  Where was the reasonable suspicion or cause for the search?

          ugh.

          I am HATING the "logical conclusion" of my own argument...that is, letting the perpetrator of a heinous crime walk on a technicality??!!!??...double ugh!!

          Still...::sigh::...that "slippery slope" thing.

          "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

          by Marjmar on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:01:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Am So With You. I Hate Where (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb137, Marjmar, notrouble

            my comments here lead. I mean there are so many unsolved violent crimes in the US. What stops law enforcement maybe saying in the years ahead we just need DNA from everyone so we can run it?

            When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

            by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:05:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Taking that another way (0+ / 0-)

            If I'm stopped for speeding, and my name is entered into the computer, the system is not allowed to tell the cop who stopped me that by the way I'm wanted in three states on suspicion of kidnapping and murder? After all, it has nothing to do with a traffic violation, so having my name show up for something else would be fishing, right?

            •  No because you have already passed the point (0+ / 0-)

              of either probable cause or reasonable suspicion for those crimes. In an arrest for one you don't automatically have it for others.

              "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

              by stellaluna on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:10:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I would argue that probable cause (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb137

            existed for the first crime (the one he was currently being held for).  He can't argue that once they have his DNA, they can't compare it to DNA for other unsolved crimes.  

    •  Ever watch Gattaca? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb137, Sychotic1, 207wickedgood

      http://www.imdb.com/...

      right now, our "expectation of privacy" is already evolving, given the ability to post cameras on the streets in public.  DNA? I'd say it's only a matter of time before we all have a DNA identity registry starting at birth, with a clean slate, just as a form of record keeping... Onone hand, it would prevent or impede serious crimes -no more missing kids, no more unidentified rape. No possibility of identity theft.

      You are who you are, the good, the bad, the ugly. you have to own it, throughout your life. It would mandate, for everyone, a greater degree of honesty and accountability and personal awareness... nobody being singled out or profiled, equal rights, equal protection, equal responsibility and accountability, under the law.

      I think it will happen, eventually, and with it, a very interesting cultural shift... worldwide.

      Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

      by Cinnamon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:03:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You say "nobody but being singled out or profiled" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        webranding, rb137, dufffbeer, pistolSO

        but have you considered that DNA offers more ways to profile? Employers refusing to hire someone with a genetic disposition toward a health problem because they don't want the insurance risk?

        •  DNA in criminal cases isn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cinnamon

          the same thing as a DNA swab for a job. That said, I've had to give a DNA swab for life insurance before...

          Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

          by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:21:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My personal DNA experience (5+ / 0-)

            I was adopted. I lead a pretty much normal life. I married a guy who, by all measures, is a genius in IQ, and who went to Ivy League schools and has done very well, who, due to this, had and shared with his family, a very high opinion of his own perfection and worthiness in the universe.

            Then we had a kid. Then we divorced. Then our daughter got diagnosed with having special needs.

            Wanna take a flying leap of mental acrobatics to guess who they thought was at fault for the kid's special needs? Hint: the phrase "mongrel unknown" WAS used in a sentence.

            Then the micro-array test became available. The results? My daughter has a random mutation of Chromosome 16 which is so rare that not much is known, but is so "interesting" because it is it's own syndrome, that they wanted the 2 parents tested. And she has a deletion of one of her 2 X chromosomes that means she has the recessive form of Becker's Muscular Dystropy. Yep, 2 deletions of significance for her motor skills, muscular development, special needs, and life, and genetic outlook when she wants to have kids... Golly, where could they have come from????

            So they do the same micro-array test on us parents.

            Me:  No "interesting" or "significant" results for the lab rats to use for their research papers. I'm genetically boring, if you are looking for things to get papers and grants out of. Nothin' to see here, folks.

            Mr. Perfect-non-adopted: ....

            Suddenly, they all got a LOT nicer when they talked to me. Three guesses why, and the first two don't count.

            Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

            by Cinnamon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:44:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  hahaha! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cinnamon, Calamity Jean

              Mongrels are much heartier (and smarter) stock, right? (What a jerk.)

              I love this story.

              Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

              by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:52:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  KARMA! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rb137, Cinnamon, Calamity Jean

              it goes without saying that he who talks smack way too much is gonna get smacked down some day.

              I am glad that Karma rebalanced things for you.  So did ya serve him a large crow flavored humble pie with sauteed black feathers? snickers

              Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be experienced.

              by DarkHawk98 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:47:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope. Not even a snarky tone. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rb137, Calamity Jean

                The guy just found out he had been walking around with undiagnosed Becker's Muscular Dystrophy for 40 years.

                Our daughter is recessive because my "normal" X overrides the deletion in the X she got from him. But men (XY) present with the disease. He has the mildest form the Beckers specialist had ever seen - usually boys are in wheelchairs by their 20's. But it does and will affect his heart and it will shorten his life. It came from his mom, who is recessive, and never knew... and it meant  that her other adult son, his 5 kids, and her daughter and her 3 little girls all needed to be tested to see who has it and who is carrying it and could pass it down to their children.

                While we are divorced, the most karma I'd ever wished on him was boils on his butt... not something this ghastly.

                Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

                by Cinnamon on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:00:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Um, YEAH... that was kinda the point of Gattaca (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb137

          reference. The advance of the technology offers both a utopian and dystopian future, at the same time. EVERYONE is profiled and thus NOBODY is singled out. it's horrible in the movie, because the main character is naturally conceived, instead of genetically-selectively created, and because of this he faces extreme prejudice and bigotry, even from his own family.

          Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

          by Cinnamon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:24:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's part of what the exclusion of barring (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb137

          coverage for preexisting conditions is about. In this case pre existing conditions which have not yet become active conditions. The minute somebody tries this with DNA, the lawsuit that will follow and the legislation that will follow that will be haunting. But prompt.

  •  I fail to see how this is more invasive (12+ / 0-)

    than taking blood samples for drug and alcohol testing.  

    Law enforcement has been taking exemplars forever.  This is just another form of exemplar.  They take hair, fingernail clippings, fingernail scrapings and fingerprints.  There are lots of ways to obtain DNA samples from a prisoner.  A swab just makes the collection easier.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:44:29 PM PST

  •  Like any tool DNA testing can be misused. (6+ / 0-)

    Identical twins and chimeras mean it's not 100% reliable and most people don't realize that. Then there is the obvious problem with police "sweeps". Imagine the police arresting two hundred protestors and taking DNA samples from them all? Sorry, that's just a ridiculous over-reach. There still needs to be some probably cause for them to gather evidence.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:49:45 PM PST

    •  When you're looking for flaws, (3+ / 0-)

      nth degree analysis is useful -- don't apologize. But your DNA isn't going to change while you wait for a warrant. It could be that SCOTUS is hearing this in order to suggest some legal architecture to handle it.

      It seems that cost will mediate ridiculous DNA sampling. Also -- collecting and analyzing are two different things. Most of the swabs will probably sit in a storage area, frankly.

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:55:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I realize it is a powerful tool (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb137, Marjmar, Cassandra Waites

        But that just gets back to the Stan Lee line, "With great power comes great responsibility". And if you haven't read up on chimeras you could be in for a shock -- their DNA could "change" while they're sitting there. Depending on where the sample is taken it could be completely different each time. Science fact is often stranger then science fiction.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:59:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  IMHO This Is More Of The Issue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb137, ontheleftcoast, 207wickedgood

        correct and accurate testing. When I watch something like Dateline I am blown away by how many people, often on "Death Row," we have in prison that if they'd just run a DNA test they'd find are innocent.

        Clearly I would never want to be raped. Much less murdered. But my gosh, the government taking away my freedom for something I didn't do might be worse (at least for me).

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:00:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you mean -- improper testing? (0+ / 0-)

          Do you think there is something they can do to change your DNA in situ?

          Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

          by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:03:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cinnamon

            I meant in vivo.

            Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

            by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:04:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ugh. Vitro. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cinnamon

              My fingers are just not doing Latin tonight.

              Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

              by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:05:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you can't reboot DNA (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rb137

                not in vitro, not yet at least. you can correct select physical deformities and problems to some degree, but DNA is in every nucleus of every cell of your body, no matter what that cell ends up being. To fix it you'd have to start with the egg just at the point between fertilization and splitting... and I mean, like, before there were 2 cells, not just one. Mommy and Daddy are barely done with their afterglow cigarettes or Gatorades, before the crazy Geneticists Minority Report Team  come crashing in to save the day. Ahem.  But once there is a human involved, done is done. You play the hand God dealt you from that point forward.

                I know far too much about this than I ever hoped to know, and for all the worst reasons.

                Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

                by Cinnamon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:15:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I Seem To Be Confusing Two Issues (4+ / 0-)

            cause I wasn't clear.

            The first is I don't think you should be able to get my DNA without a court order.

            The second issue is what I wasn't clear about. There are so many folks in jail that either didn't have their DNA run cause it was so long ago, or for costs it just wasn't run.

            But a simple DNA test would show they are in jail for something they didn't do. That should be fixed yesterday.

            When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

            by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:08:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  because there's such a problem with (5+ / 0-)

      identical twins and chimeras committing violent crimes and shifting the blame on their unfortunate sibblings.  I's say if a guy gets arrested for rape, that's probable cause to take a swab to see if his DNA matches any other rape crimes.  

      Look...we are talking about people arrested for violent crimes here.  It is not very hard to make it through life without getting arrested for a violent crime.  

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:56:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, we're talking about people arrested for (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb137, Cassandra Waites, dufffbeer

        felonies and even misdemeanors getting their DNA harvested, placed in databases, and who knows will have access to that data?

        I was merely using the example of twins and chimeras to point out the DNA isn't perfect and we shouldn't treat it as some "magic" that can circumvent the 4th and 5th Amendment protections we're supposed to have in this country. And, like it or not, those rights are given to everyone.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:03:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll take DNA over a politically ambitious DA (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb137, Deward Hastings, erush1345

          any day of the week.  At least it is not ambiguous.

          Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

          by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:23:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  ummmm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb137, erush1345
          felonies and even misdemeanors getting their DNA harvested, placed in databases, and who knows will have access to that data?
          Perhaps some cop working a cold case on the rape or murder of someone near to you?  Granted, closure may not mean much to you, but some people find it helpful.

          Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

          by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:27:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If that's the way you feel about it why don't we (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb137, stellaluna

            just have mandatory DNA tests done on everyone in America. Think of all the crimes that could be solved! Sorry, but getting arrested doesn't mean you surrender your rights whether you're guilty or not. Yes, it sucks for victims of crimes. But it sucks more for innocent people put away for crimes they didn't commit. And that does happen, even with DNA evidence. Did you follow the case in NJ (IIRC) where the DNA testing lab was making shit up to get convictions in drug cases? That's not some hypothetical science fictionish problem, that happened for real. And it's not the only case nationally where DNA testing was done improperly. And once you get into the system, even under improper circumstances, there is virtually no way to remove that "criminal" evidence. So a future employer doing a web sweep on you turns up the fact you have DNA evidence from a criminal case and decides that other applicant gets the job.

            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:40:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In some sense... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ontheleftcoast, gramofsam1

              And maybe in a legal one, your DNA is becoming the same thing as your identity. You're not allowed to conceal your identity.

              Tampering can happen to any evidence at any level -- there is nothing special here. There is no evil demon for DNA evidence that doesn't apply to any other physical evidence. The issue, I think, is that people (juries) do not understand very much about DNA evidence, and could confuse witness testimony.

              Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

              by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:48:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, ignorance of science is a problem (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rb137

                But what bothers me more is the "guilty until proven innocent" that will inevitably happen because of aggressive "harvesting" of DNA. With the internet all data is effectively public data and the poor, minorities, those who can least afford to protect themselves from the misuse of that data will be, as sure as the sun rises, implicated falsely by their own DNA. Unless strict rules for DNA privacy are put into place I don't see enough good from DNA sweeps to justify the harm it will inflict.

                To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:57:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do DNA swabs get posted on the internet? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ontheleftcoast, rb137

                  I never knew that...that certainly is a horse of a different color.

                  Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

                  by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:01:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You'd be shocked at how much data from police (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rb137

                    files is available on the internet. With $30 and their SSN number the amount of information anyone can get on anyone else is down right scary. I do not know how much DNA evidence would be available, at least intentionally, at this point. But I want a bright line in the sand drawn and rules in place to deal with the consequences of its misuse before we start giving the police the right to harvest it on suspicion alone that a crime may have been committed.

                    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:17:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Nobody is "implicated falsely (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rb137, FloraLine

                  by their own DNA".  If DNA matching your profile is found in physical evidence from a crime scene there is nothing false about the "implication" that you were there (not necessarily at the time the crime was committed and not necessarily the perp, but . . .).  In that regard it is no different from finding your fingerprint.

                  In fact collecting DNA samples is no different from collecting fingerprints, and leaving DNA at a crime scene is no different from leaving a fingerprint there . . . except DNA is less likely than a fingerprint to be misinterpreted.

                  DNA evidence does not produce false or erroneous convictions.  If you're charged with a rape you didn't commit the first thing you should do is demand that they take a DNA sample.  If you're a serial rapist who hasn't been caught yet then yes, you should fear the swab.

                  There is no "harm it will inflict" . . . DNA identifies the guilty (still leaving it for the courts to convict and get them off the street) and acquits the innocent.  There is no down side to that . . .
                   

                  Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                  by Deward Hastings on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:54:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                    Check out the cases where shoddy handling of DNA evidence (and down right criminal fraud) has resulted in convictions of thousands of people.

                    DNA is different than fingerprints in that laypeople just assume "a match is a match" because the lab says so. With finger print evidence you can look at it and see it's reasonably close. When you're told "19 alleles matched" what does that mean?

                    But even that isn't what worries me the most. Once your data gets into the system, for any reason, it will sit there forever -- whether or not there was any reason for it to be collected in the first place. And that should bother you as much as it does me. Because I do not trust the authorities to "do the right thing" especially with regards to the rights of minorities in this country.

                    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:04:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That is so false, (0+ / 0-)

                      and so demonstrably false, that I have to call it a lie.

                      There simply are not "thousands of people" falsely convicted by erroneous DNA evidence.  It is unlikely that there are any.  It just doesn't work that way . . .

                      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                      by Deward Hastings on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:36:10 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  DNA testing is exclusionary, not conclusive (0+ / 0-)

                        This is how people get proven innocent, when part of their DNA pattern can be shown to NOT be in the suspect DNA they're eliminated. What alleles and markers are tested for will have a significant effect as to the ability to rule someone out as a suspect.

                        But that's where being poor becomes a crime. A typical test will have a false positive rate of 1 in 10,000 and unless you can afford a much better test that can do a better job of eliminating you from the set of possible suspects you're unlucky and thus guilty. Worse, if the sample from the crime scene is contaminated in any way it may be impossible to get better exclusionary testing.

                        But that's not the only way DNA is misused. Poor handling of DNA evidence has caused major cities like Houston to shut down their labs and throw out convictions based on faulty evidence. Recently a DNA lab was shown to be falsifying evidence to get convictions in drug cases. Maybe thousands is too high, though I seriously doubt it.

                        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:38:02 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  "DNA labs" don't do "drug cases" (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          FloraLine

                          unless there's a homocide or rape involved, or some other severely extenuating circumstance.  Different techniques, different technologies altogether.  Controlled substance analysis is usually done (as an entry level position) at a "full service" crime lab (which may, of course, do DNA in a different part of the facility).  You are unlikely (very unlikely) to find the same criminalist working both.

                          Innocent or victim, DNA is your friend . . . you only have to worry about "getting caught" (by DNA testing) if you did it . . .

                          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                          by Deward Hastings on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:48:46 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Did I suggest that? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rb137

              No...I didn't.  But thanks for the hyperbole, anyway.  

              Just out of curiosity...let's throw out a first arrest, and say no harm, no foul, no DNA swab.  How about a second arrest?  How long would a persons rap sheet have to get before you get off you high horse and say, "Swab 'em, Dano"?

              Principles are so clean and neat,...and life and humanity is so not that.

              Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

              by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:59:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm glad you trust the police with everything (0+ / 0-)

                they might do to you. I know lots of people who don't share your optimism about that. And those people sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit, ask them about it being "hyperbole". Or were they all guilty of something because the police only arrest guilty people? Every day we see evidence of the police and prosecutors abusing their authority and you want them to have more ways to do that. Sorry, but I don't. And that's not some academic, high-faluting, ivory-tower theory. That's reality.

                To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:08:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't trust the police (0+ / 0-)

                  I just trust the guy who gets arrested for assault, and has 3 priors, even less.

                  Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

                  by Keith930 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:16:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  But in the case in Maryland did the suspect have (0+ / 0-)

                    any priors? Once he was convicted, not merely charged with, his crime in 2009 I'd understand the logic of testing his DNA against unsolved prior crimes. But the swab was taken and the hunt for his DNA began immediately. Now you can claim he effectively had a "prior" in that he raped someone but obviously nobody knew that. And if he was found innocent of the 2009 charges should his DNA still have been run thru the system hoping to find a match against a prior crime? On what legal grounds would that claim be based?

                    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:25:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  If not now, in the near future, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, rb137, Marjmar

    I would just about bet that DNA will be taken at birth, analyzed and used by a number of different entities—for our own good. Genetic markers that show a predisposition to an ailment will be touted as a must-have and law enforcement will use the  if-you're-not-guilty-you-have-nothing-to-hide as an argument against wrongful convictions.

    I'm 65 and I'll probably live long enough to see at least one these arguments being made.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:09:40 PM PST

  •  i don't trust the supreme court (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137, webranding, Marjmar, Sychotic1

    wonder if some of their horrible clumsy will be timely corrected.

    this case may be too tough for them to figure.

    I shudder every time they accept a challenge.

    I'd welcome independent learned counsel assisting.

    Intelligence is often outnumbered on that incompetent bench.

    They get jealous of Congress in the ruin our lives contest.

    consider these terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout famine, acceptance of nature

    by renzo capetti on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:09:55 PM PST

  •  Another reason this is important is that most (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137, Marjmar

    jurors, judges and attorneys don't know anything about the science involved, and the surprisingly high potential for error. Like Blood type, DNA is a pretty fail-safe indicator of guilt, but not nearly so reliable of an indicator of guilt, but it is usually taken for granted that it is infallible.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:18:33 PM PST

    •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      Also, it's surprisingly hard to get DNA from something like a blood sample (unless the bleeder has a virus or bacterial infection). A lot of people think that a blood sample from a crime scene is a slam dunk. They might confuse the details in expert testimony.

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:24:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Getting DNA from blood is simple. (0+ / 0-)

        Sometimes crime scene evidence is dirty (contaminated), or the crime scene investigator doesn't collect or identify it properly so sometimes it's origin is unclear, sometimes blood from several sources is mixed and separating mixtures complicates matching . . . dealing with those issues is what DNA analyists do in the lab.  And explaining it to juries is what they do in the courtroom.

        You are making it out to be much more difficult than it actually is . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:06:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point is that (0+ / 0-)

          a blood sample doesn't contain DNA unless there are white cells in it. If the person's immune system isn't particularly active, it isn't a great source of DNA. Skin is much better, for example.

          Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

          by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:13:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is not entirely correct. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb137

            It is rare for an individual to be so imunosuppressed that their blood is free of white cells . . . as a result even very small blood samples (less than 50 microliters) contain enough DNA to produce a clean profile.  A subject with effectively DNA-free blood is essentially dead (or soon will be, not to make light of a serious medical condition being indicated).  Epithelial cells are easier to collect from a suspect (less intrusive, buccal swabs for example), but often less easy to identify in crime scene evidence than blood stains (for which there are several easy presumptive tests).

            But yes, it is also common to collect a rape victim's fingernails in hope of finding that they have collected skin from the perp . . .

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:07:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you draw blood that's true. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings

              Scraping it up from a crime scene is another matter. But I don't think we're in any real disagreement here. And thanks for your commentary.

              Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

              by rb137 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:37:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I Wish I Would Have Saved The Article (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb137, ET3117, enhydra lutris

      by father, who is a big fan of the CSI shows sent me years ago. It was written by an actual CSI and explaining how since these shows are so popular, when he goes to court a lot of the jurors think they are experts, where alas they don't know much. And maybe worse, they think things are possible that in fact are not possible.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:24:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those darn red blood cells - what are they hiding! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137

     Re: rb137' comment -  

    Red blood cells do not have DNA since they don't have a nucleus - they are just 'dumb' transport vehicles (e..g. hemoglobin carries oxygen)! White blood cells ( i.e. part of the immune system) do have DNA and would  likely be at a higher concentration if you had an infection.

  •  The eyes have it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137, notrouble

    In 2006 after a conviction for blocking a recruiting, I chose a 10 day sentence rather than community service..Part of the precess in my incarceration in the Jefferson County (CO) jail was a retina scan.

    A few years ago I did a FOI with the Denver division FBI..I was curious what they had on me and my 40 years of "activity." Yep my retinas be there

    2+2=4

    •  Don't retinas change over time? (0+ / 0-)

      Suppose someone suffers from macular degeneration or something. Does that render a retina scan useless for ID?

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:09:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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