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Maryland Court Rules DNA Collection On Arrest Unconstitutional

Patch wants to know what you think of the court ruling?

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that part of a state law that allows law enforcement to collect DNA from anyone arrested for a crime of violence is unconstitutional when it overturned a rape conviction and life sentence Tuesday.

Patch wants to know your thoughts on this state ruling.

The conviction and sentence of Alonzo Jay King Jr. was overturned Tuesday in a 5-2 vote. The court ruled Wicomico County police violated King’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches when they arrested him in 2009 and took a sample of his DNA, according to court documents and a story on WashingtonPost.com.

The DNA collected from that arrest generated a match to a sample collected from a 2003 sexual assault forensic examination, according to documents stating the court opinion.

That match provided was the only probable cause provided for a grand jury indictment of King on rape charges, according to court documents. King was convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life in prison.

"The DNA evidence presented at trial was a fruit of the poisonous tree," the court opinion states.

The sample was taken under the Maryland DNA Collection Act which allows police to collect DNA samples from individuals who are arrested, but not yet convicted, for crimes of violence or burglary or attempting these crimes.

Gov. Martin O’Malley pushed for the law, which went into effect in 2008, according to an AP story posted on WashingtonPost.com. At the time, critics of the law said it had potential to violate civil rights of those who are presumed innocent.

"In a statement, O’Malley expressed disappointment at the ruling and said his administration was reviewing its options," The Washington Post story states.

What are your thoughts on this ruling? Do you think police should have the right to search a person arrested under suspicion of committing or attempting a violent crime? Do you agree with the ruling that it is a violation of rights? Leave a comment.

Parkvillehoney April 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM
As usual, the criminal has all the rights and the victim has none. So this criminal is to be set free. Strange, when someone is stopped for DUI, they have to take a breathalizer test even before being convicted! If you are picked up as a suspect in a violent crime, you should be required to give a DNA sample. I think the ACLU and the judges are wrong on this one. Thank you liberal Maryland Court of Appeals judges who were nominated by liberal Maryland politicians for letting a criminal go free.
Marge April 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM
If you didn't do the crime, feel you are not guilty than you don't have anything to worry about on any test they do on you. The ACLU needs to butt out. The officers do their job and the system lets them down. I know from a past experience we had on how our court system really works.
Snake April 26, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I feel ALL Americans should be fingerprinted, photographed and dna samples on file as part of a National citizens database. ID cards should be issued to be used for voting, employment, travel and as supplemental id's for aquiring a passport quickly and easily. It will make identifying bodies faster in cases of natural disaster or terrorist attack . This information should be used as often as possible to solve crimes and make our lives safer . It would also save a small fortune in police man hours we as taxpayers have to pay for for criminal investigations. It would lower unsolved rapes and make all our lives safer. As the information would be stored as a digital image it could not be used to plant evidence as some fear, ( Look officer, a diskette with the alleged murderers dna was in her pocket ). Facial recognition cameras and software are already in place and in use so there can be no illusion of privacy and anyone silly enough to think that if the government really wants your dna they can't get it through any lab work you have done once healthcare reform goes its full course and the Government is sole provider of healthcare is just beyond hope. Do we really have to worry about the Government using the dna samples to discriminate against us? If so why would we want the government involved in our healthcare? Far more people will be cleared of crimes if dna is readily available then will be wrongfully convicted.
Red Dolphin April 27, 2012 at 02:09 AM
on it face it sounds . unfair to let this person off , unfortunately, there are constitutional rights that all americans are protected by,,,,,,,,,, dont get me wrong, I think its horrific this guy got off, especially with his dna match,,,,,,,,, with a clear conscience ,I will say I hope he gets hit by a train or something, but the bigger picture hanging in the balance is liberty,,,,,,,, if you put no limits on search and seizure , then we will eventually have no rights ........... this is has been a hot topic in the news lately........ with the government dictating to the citizens. I guess there the down side to liberty for all ............ask a expert about this.like Mark Levin on wcbm at night. The 4th admenment , protects us against unreasonable search and seizures . its not as simple as " if you have nothing to hide..." it goes beyond that, di you hear they want us all to be "chipped " ? did you hear about the "black boxes" being installed in the cars we dirve that are going to be mandatory, if you are asking "what does this have to do with this man getting off ?" then you dont know constutinal law. not to be blunt ,
Red Dolphin April 27, 2012 at 02:17 AM
" Far more people will be cleared of crimes if dna is readily available then will be wrongfully convicted." and they are doing just that every day, if you willfully and knowingly submit you dna other wise its a violation of the 5th adm . right ?

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