Supreme Court ruling could have major impact on criminal defense
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 28-Jun-2013
Using DNA evidence is now standard procedure everywhere, including Dallas, as authorities work to solve serious crimes, like sexual assault or other sex related crimes. However, there are situations when DNA evidence may not be reliable or the use of it may compromise a person's rights to fair trial.
Victims of crimes as well as law enforcement groups are praising a decision by the Supreme Court that will allow investigators to collect DNA samples from people who have been arrested, but have yet to be charged with a crime. One advocate for crime victims celebrated the court's ruling because of the role that DNA can play in helping solve crimes. However, he also recognized that it's still a hotly contested issue as evidenced by the court's narrow 5-4 decision.
"DNA identification of arrestees is a reasonable search that can be considered part of a routine booking procedure," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. On the flip side, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent: "Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason." While proponents claim that DNA evidence can help bring the right people to justice, opponents claim that using DNA evidence can also lead to wrongful convictions.
If someone has been arrested for a crime it is important for him or her to know his or her legal rights. Hopefully, this new ruling will help investigators eliminate suspects who are innocent. If a person is charged with a sex crime and authorities have taken a DNA sample, then he or she might want to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: USA Today, "Supreme Court Oks DNA swab of people under arrest," Richard Wolf, June 3, 2013.
Categories: Sex Crimes