"Test on Arrest" – YOU may be next
Today on NPR there was another disturbing article about the ongoing erosion of our civil rights.
A federal appeals court by a vote of 2-1 upheld California's "test on arrest" policy, a policy which has President Obama's blessing.
With the "test on arrest" policy in place, DNA samples are taken from anyone arrested for a possible felony, without the need for suspicion that the person has committed any crime that the DNA will help solve, and the DNA sample is stored in a criminal database regardless of whether the person arrested is ever convicted of anything.
Judge William Fletcher, the sole dissenting judge, argued that that database of DNA invades the privacy of people not yet convicted — and who may never be. Fletcher says that while DNA profiling and the ubiquitous practice of fingerprinting are similar, neither should be done solely for investigative purposes without a warrant.
"If DNA is taken from arrestees . . . solely for purposes of investigation, that taking is a seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment," Fletcher wrote. "The DNA is taken from the arrestee as a matter of course, without the need for any suspicion that he has committed any crime that the DNA will help solve. The DNA is taken because there is a possibility that the DNA may help solve some other crime — a crime about which the police taking the DNA have no knowledge, indeed a crime that may not even exist."
Fletcher also noted that DNA testing presents greater privacy concerns that unlike fingerprints, DNA contains familiy traits and police investigations can draw in family members of suspects. In addition, even so-called junk DNA used for the current profiles may actually contain medical information about individuals.
Hunter S. Thompson co-founded The Fourth Amendment Foundation in 1990 after his home was ransacked by police for 12 hours based on charges that were ultimately dropped due to lack of evidence. Might be time to start forming local chapters of that foundation. As Hunter wrote for his Legal Defense Fund campaign:
Today: the Doctor
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing". ~ Edmund Burke