Supreme Court Looks at Constitutionality of DNA Collection - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Supreme Court Looks at Constitutionality of DNA Collection

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Thursday that he has joined others in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a state's authority to collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for violent crimes.

The argument is over whether or not it is constitutional for authorities to collect DNA samples from people arrested for violent crimes who have not yet been convicted.

Some are arguing that DNA collection laws serve an important public safety function and are constitutional. If fact attorney generals in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision from a lower court in Maryland v. King.

Kansas is one of 28 states that, by state law, collect DNA samples from certain violent crime suspects at the time of arrest for use in a forensic identification database.

"The DNA database is a valuable tool to help protect our communities against repeat offenders," Schmidt said. "Kansans have determined that collecting DNA at the time of arrest will help solve violent crimes more quickly, and we are strongly defending the authority of our state to make that decision."

The states said an adverse Supreme Court decision also would jeopardize the constitutionality of fingerprinting and collection of other identifying information about criminal defendants at the time of arrest, practices that have been in place for decades.

The high court will hear arguments in this case next month.

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