Supreme Court’s DNA decision boosts Colorado’s confidence in law

On behalf of Anaya-McKedy, P.C. posted in Violent Crimes on Friday, June 7, 2013.

While some other states might be in a panic over the Supreme Court’s recent decision about DNA sample collecting, Colorado residents might think the entire matter sounds familiar. That is because Colorado lawmakers already enacted a law in 2010 that allows a more liberal approach regarding which criminal suspects’ DNA samples can be collected.

Earlier this week the court affirmed what state lawmakers who are for the current law already feel: collecting DNA samples without a warrant at the time of an arrest does not violate rights granted by the United States Constitution.

The controversial ruling did not come easily; at least it didn’t pass in the court overwhelmingly. In a 5-4 vote, the dissenters’ argument that the expansion of acceptable DNA collection might be a slippery slope was outweighed by the supporting justices’ argument.

Those for the DNA collection of more criminal suspects without conviction and without a warrant view DNA similarly as fingerprints. Therefore, it doesn’t seem like a major violation of privacy or unreasonable search and seizure to take a swab sample from a suspect’s cheek. And if the procedural change can pin a suspect for more crimes than one, then, “Why not?” some argue. It is a matter of time and cost efficiency.

Current law allows authorities to collect a DNA sample when a suspect has been charged with a felony in Colorado. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, some might wonder whether lawmakers here will move to expand the use of DNA collection. If there is a development in this matter at a local level, we will post an update.

Source: The Denver Post, “Supreme Court affirms Colorado DNA collection laws,” Sadie Gurman, June 4, 2013