Arrestees DNA Sample and the Fourth Amendment
A sample was the lone evidence used to convict King of first-degree rape by the trial judge who disallowed his motion to suppress such evidence, and he was thus sentenced to life imprisonment (US Supreme Court Media, n.d., p.1). He then appealed his conviction positing that his Fourth Amendment right against warrantless searches was violated (US Supreme Court Media, n.d., p.1). The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s findings and held the Act was unconstitutional placing more importance on King’s expectation of privacy than that of Maryland’s pursuit in utilizing the DNA for the purpose of identification (US Supreme Court Media, n.d., p.1). Hence the question raised is whether the Fourth Amendment authorizes states to gather and examine DNA from arrested individuals but have not yet been sentenced to such serious crime (US Supreme Court Media, n.d., p.1). Analyzing the various decisions of courts would show that the collection and examination of DNA samples from individuals whether convicted or not, and the matching it with DNA samples found in the database comply with the Fourth Amendment based on the totality of circumstances, the reasonableness of such practice and according to the special needs of law enforcement.
The Fourth Amendment provides “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (U.S. Const. amend. IV). This provision consists of both the “Reasonableness Clause” which guarantees security from unreasonable searches and seizures and the “Warrant Clause” which states the requirements before the issuance of any warrant (U.S. Const. amend. IV).