In June, 2013, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Maryland v. King, which held that a Maryland statute authorizing the collection of DNA samples from those arrested for certain felonies did not violate Fourth Amendment protections. The Maryland law that the Court upheld includes significant procedural protections: a DNA sample is collected only upon formal charging, and only for certain violent or property felonies. It may only be used for identification purposes, and the record is expunged if no conviction is reached. However, many jurisdictions across the country that collect DNA samples lack similar safeguards.
So while this case establishes a constitutional baseline for the practice, it also leaves a host of questions unanswered. The Committee on DNA Collection will develop best practices for DNA collection by law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. The committee will survey the collection and storage policies and practices that jurisdictions currently have in place or are contemplating, identify the privacy and civil liberties concerns they raise, then fashion policy recommendations and develop model legislation to better ensure the transparency and security of collection programs whenever government agencies choose to deploy this powerful law enforcement tool.
The Bromwich Group; former Inspector General for the Department of Justice
Dr. Norah Rudin, Ph. D.
Forensic DNA consultant with twenty years of private sector experience; former DNA Technical Leader, San Diego Sherriff’s Office DNA Laboratory, San Francisco Police Department Criminalistics Laboratory, Idaho State Department of Law Enforcement DNA Laboratory, and California State Department of Justice DNA Laboratory.
Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
Mary Ellen Callahan
Jenner & Block; former Chief Privacy Officer and Chief FOIA Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.)
Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School; former Federal Judge for the District of Massachusetts
Jones Day; TCP Board Member
Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley; former attorney and founder of the Forensic Practice Group, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
Judge William S. Sessions (Ret.)
Holland & Knight; former Director of the FBI; former Federal Judge for the Western District of Texas; TCP Board Member
Former State Attorney, Florida
John Van de Kamp
Mayer Brown; former Attorney General of California; former U.S. Attorney, Central District of California; former Federal Defender, Central District of California
Judge William H. Webster (Ret.)
Chairperson, Homeland Security Advisory Council; former Director of the FBI; former Director of the CIA; former Federal Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the Eastern District of Missouri
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