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(Scotus Blog)   Not News: SCOTUS hands down 5-4 decision. News: SCOTUS says police can take DNA samples from arrestees just like fingerprints. Fark: Scalia dissented with the hippie commune and Breyer joined the facists   (scotusblog.com) divider line 316
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2289 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Jun 2013 at 1:19 PM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-03 10:46:45 AM
For all the crap scalia gets on here, alito is far worse. I've yet to see him vote against the state on a criminal matter. He's been a lone dissenter on several if them.
 
2013-06-03 10:49:10 AM
Scalia has often been defendant-oriented on Fourth Amendment cases, so I am not surprised by his vote.  I am disappointed in the outcome, though.
 
2013-06-03 10:53:00 AM
Quite disappointing.
 
2013-06-03 10:59:17 AM
Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.
 
2013-06-03 11:04:39 AM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


One is a print of oils secreted from human skin left on a surface in a pattern that conforms to the ridges on their finger tip. The other is Deoxyribonucleic acid, the basic building blocks of all life on Earth.
 
2013-06-03 11:05:01 AM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


I see the point either way, but DNA is an actual substance, actual physical evidence instead of what can be looked at more as a mug shot.

Kinda like when a cop sees a car's license plates and knows the ID of the owner, but he still cannot search the trunk without a halfway decent reason.
 
2013-06-03 11:06:17 AM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


DNA contains significantly more identifying information than fingerprints.  For example, someone with your DNA could determine what diseases you are genetically predisposed to, or determine who you are related to (if they had the DNA of your relatives).

Note: I'm answering your question, not making an argument for why the government should or should not be allowed to collect DNA.
 
2013-06-03 11:07:15 AM

Cythraul: wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.

One is a print of oils secreted from human skin left on a surface in a pattern that conforms to the ridges on their finger tip. The other is Deoxyribonucleic acid, the basic building blocks of all life on Earth.


i2.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-03 11:07:59 AM
Go read scalia's dissent. Essentially, fingerprints are used to Id a suspect at the time of arrest. Dna is used solely to link a person to cold cases. He explains in far more depth, tho.
 
2013-06-03 11:11:10 AM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


Your DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than your finger prints.
 
2013-06-03 11:18:12 AM

Nabb1: Scalia has often been defendant-oriented on Fourth Amendment cases, so I am not surprised by his vote.  I am disappointed in the outcome, though.


Why are you disappointed, specifically?
 
2013-06-03 11:20:56 AM

TheOnion: wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.

DNA contains significantly more identifying information than fingerprints.  For example, someone with your DNA could determine what diseases you are genetically predisposed to, or determine who you are related to (if they had the DNA of your relatives).

Note: I'm answering your question, not making an argument for why the government should or should not be allowed to collect DNA.


However, none of that is relevant to the interests identified by either Majority or Dissent; Majority emphasizes the need to satisfactorily identify the suspect (balanced against the standard Search 4th Amendment interest), while the Dissent simply asserts that this is unreasonable (without, on my first reading, explaining why really).  The information density of the subject of a search isn't necessarily relevant at all to whether the search is unreasonable.
 
2013-06-03 11:21:29 AM

ongbok: wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.

Your DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than your finger prints.


I'm less concerned with planting of evidence than I am with contamination of evidence (the DNA).
 
2013-06-03 11:29:43 AM

mattharvest: However, none of that is relevant to the interests identified by either Majority or Dissent; Majority emphasizes the need to satisfactorily identify the suspect (balanced against the standard Search 4th Amendment interest), while the Dissent simply asserts that this is unreasonable (without, on my first reading, explaining why really).  The information density of the subject of a search isn't necessarily relevant at all to whether the search is unreasonable.


As i specifically noted, I wasn't commenting on the case, just answering the question.

Personally, I don't think that this violates the 4th amendment, but I also don't think the government should do it just because it can do it.  I simply don't trust the government with this information.  It's one thing if you're convicted of a crime, but anyone can be arrested at any time, meaning that this essentially gives the government unfettered access to everyone's DNA.
 
2013-06-03 11:39:54 AM
I'd like to see the dissent but I don't have time right now. I have a feeling the majority went with a liberal allowance for evidence gathering while Scalia went with a narrower view. I'd like to see a narrower view win out but I'd hate to see where they can't ever use DNA evidence to find suspects.
 
2013-06-03 11:49:42 AM
At an even lower level, fingerprint, unless you are a twin, can only be used to convict you, DNA can implicate your relatives

there is precedent for DNA convicting family members of crimes

Also, I would like think I have the rights to my personal genetic code, then again you can patent genes.... hmmm wonder if you could use that as a defense. Your honor, they couldn't access my DNA without violating patent law!
 
2013-06-03 11:57:13 AM

zedster: there is precedent for DNA convicting family members of crimes


I'm not aware of any such case; can you please identify one?
 
2013-06-03 11:59:54 AM

TheOnion: It's one thing if you're convicted of a crime, but anyone can be arrested at any time, meaning that this essentially gives the government unfettered access to everyone's DNA.


That's the slippery-slope argument Scalia employs, but the Majority's decision (and our MD law) specifically limits it to violent offenses (which are enumerated).  Scalia suggests that inevitably some state will extend this to traffic stops, and when that case gets to SCOTUS they'll be forced to agree there is no difference that can allow the search in one but not the other.

What Scalia blindly misses is that by the time that can happen - a minimum of a few years - it's likely that DNA analysis will continue to speed up (as it has since it arrived), meaning the results will be so much more prompt as to invalidate other parts of his argument.

TheOnion: As i specifically noted, I wasn't commenting on the case, just answering the question.


I didn't mean to imply otherwise, btw; just using your comment as a springboard for discussion.
 
2013-06-03 12:02:29 PM

mattharvest: zedster: there is precedent for DNA convicting family members of crimes

I'm not aware of any such case; can you please identify one?


http://www.denverda.org/dna/DNA_Partial_Match_DNA_Cases.htm
 
2013-06-03 12:06:24 PM

zedster: mattharvest: zedster: there is precedent for DNA convicting family members of crimes

I'm not aware of any such case; can you please identify one?

http://www.denverda.org/dna/DNA_Partial_Match_DNA_Cases.htm


I don't think you read that page.  None of those are cases where a family member of the actual criminal was convicted due to DNA the criminal left behind.  All of those cases are cases where an actual criminal was identified by DNA partial matching.

Also, you appear unaware of what the word precedent means in legal context: it refers to a binding decision by a court (i.e. appellate level only) wherein a particular interpretation of law dictates to lower courts how they must rule.  What case are you talking about that establishes any precedent in this area?

What are you talking about?
 
2013-06-03 12:29:30 PM
Let's look at the actual Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.
 
2013-06-03 12:34:15 PM

R.A.Danny: Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.


Look into the word "unreasonable".  It doesn't preclude <i>all</i> searches, just unreasonable ones.  The court spent quite a bit of time explaining why they found it reasonable; care to respond to their arguments with any specificity as to why they're wrong?
 
2013-06-03 12:43:17 PM

mattharvest: R.A.Danny: Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.

Look into the word "unreasonable".  It doesn't preclude <i>all</i> searches, just unreasonable ones.  The court spent quite a bit of time explaining why they found it reasonable; care to respond to their arguments with any specificity as to why they're wrong?


Because this is warrant-less. The Fourth specifically states a warrant is needed. "and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized "
 
2013-06-03 01:22:25 PM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


I put my DNA on everything I see. Ask your mom. The potential I could be linked to any crime that ever occurred in any place I've ever been is enormous.

Seriously.

My semen is everywhere.

(clean your keyboard, ASAP)
 
2013-06-03 01:22:37 PM

R.A.Danny: mattharvest: R.A.Danny: Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.

Look into the word "unreasonable".  It doesn't preclude <i>all</i> searches, just unreasonable ones.  The court spent quite a bit of time explaining why they found it reasonable; care to respond to their arguments with any specificity as to why they're wrong?

Because this is warrant-less. The Fourth specifically states a warrant is needed. "and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized "


Your argument being that simple arrest is not enough reason, unless it is a warranted (planned) arrest? Arrests made in the field do not apply? Just for my own clarity.
 
2013-06-03 01:23:52 PM
Unreasonable searches?

I'm sorry, but after 9/11 Bush made it so there was no such thing as an "unreasonable search".

Y'all are acting like this is something new.
 
2013-06-03 01:23:59 PM
The police have no right to photograph suspects for later archival
 
2013-06-03 01:24:15 PM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


Start on page 33. Warning! It's a Scalia-written dissent, so even though I largely agree with it, it's so dickishly-written I feel like I need a shower.
 
2013-06-03 01:24:17 PM
The police can take anything they see from DNA to DNZ
 
2013-06-03 01:24:37 PM

TheOnion: It's one thing if you're convicted of a crime, but anyone can be arrested at any time, meaning that this essentially gives the government unfettered access to everyone's DNA.


Not to mention a good motive for arresting as many people as possible, just hoping that it cracks a cold case or comes in handy at some later date.
 
2013-06-03 01:25:18 PM

usernameguy: wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.

Start on page 33. Warning! It's a Scalia-written dissent, so even though I largely agree with it, it's so dickishly-written I feel like I need a shower.


Oh, and page 46 has a little table specifically addressing your question.
 
2013-06-03 01:25:28 PM
I mean c'mon, who didn't see this coming?

Please...
 
2013-06-03 01:26:38 PM
So what happened with Clarence Thomas? Did he and Scalia had a fight or something?
 
2013-06-03 01:27:15 PM

R.A.Danny: mattharvest: R.A.Danny: Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.

Look into the word "unreasonable".  It doesn't preclude <i>all</i> searches, just unreasonable ones.  The court spent quite a bit of time explaining why they found it reasonable; care to respond to their arguments with any specificity as to why they're wrong?

Because this is warrant-less. The Fourth specifically states a warrant is needed. "and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized "


They don't need a warrant to get your fingerprints. The argument is that DNA, legally, is like fingerprints.

// I'd agree that a mouth-swab is legally very similar to fingerprinting
// not a lawyer, though
 
2013-06-03 01:27:19 PM
Scalia said "Sometimes the 4th amendment gets in the way." Awesome.
 
2013-06-03 01:27:35 PM
wait wait wait..
Thomas had a different opinion than Scalia?
 
2013-06-03 01:27:54 PM
Scalia: "I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection."

Well, DUH.

George Washington's dentures would have popped out of his mouth, and that would have been pretty embarrassing.
 
2013-06-03 01:28:23 PM
From Scalia's opinion:

" If one believes that DNA will "identify" someone arrested for assault, he must believe that it will "identify" someone arrested for a traffic offense."

The crux of the majority opinion is that collecting DNA is a means of identifying arrestees, not as a means to solve cold cases. Scalia also mentions the fact that many times DNA samples are tested against a registry of DNA from unsolved crimes, not the already-existing bank of DNA from people previously convicted. If the purpose of collecting said DNA was to ID someone in custody, their DNA should be tested against the latter registry, not the former.
 
2013-06-03 01:29:23 PM

usernameguy: usernameguy: wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.

Start on page 33. Warning! It's a Scalia-written dissent, so even though I largely agree with it, it's so dickishly-written I feel like I need a shower.

Oh, and page 46 has a little table specifically addressing your question.


Boy his point on how long DNA takes is kind of un-informed, or oversimplified. The only reason it does is bureaucracy; technologically, we can sequence very quickly now, and at considerably reduced cost. It's not negligibly cheap, or anything, but it's getting there.

And that aside, just saying "it's slower than fingerprints" doesn't address the legal side of the argument either.
 
2013-06-03 01:29:34 PM

The Bestest: wait wait wait..
Thomas had a different opinion than Scalia?


Not really. I think Scalia forgot their anniversary so that was his way to get back at him.
 
2013-06-03 01:31:45 PM
So if you are arrested and then found 'not guilty' do they destroy your DNA 'evidence' they collected? If they do then I don't mind this...
 
2013-06-03 01:31:57 PM

And because I think this is the most important part (emphasis mine):

The Court asserts that the taking of fingerprints was
"constitutional for generations prior to the introduction" of
the FBI's rapid computer-matching system. Ante, at 22.
This bold statement is bereft of citation to authority
because there is none for it. The "great expansion in finger-
printing came before the modern era of Fourth Amend-
ment jurisprudence," and so we were never asked to decide
the legitimacy of the practice. United States v. Kincade,
379 F. 3d 813, 874 (CA9 2004) (Kozinski, J., dissenting).
As fingerprint databases expanded from convicted
criminals, to arrestees, to civil servants, to immigrants,
to everyone with a driver's license, Americans simply
"became accustomed to having our fingerprints on file
in some government database." Ibid. But it is wrong
to suggest that this was uncontroversial at the time, or
that this Court blessed universal fingerprinting for
"generations" before it was possible to use it effectively for
identification.
 
2013-06-03 01:32:33 PM
On the one hand I'd be completely happy with sex offenders and murderers getting caught because they do something else stupid and get arrested.  The police can match the dna and hopefully build a case.

But if someone tips the police that some guy in apartment 3b is making bombs, and the police arrest me mistakenly in 3b-1, then my dna gets put into a national database.  If other national databases are any indication, employers can require consent to search that database.  "So, it says here you were arrested for bomb making?  You really think I'm going to hire you?"

Plus, it is another thing that humans can screw up.  They log the dna in the database.  If they put your dna in a suspected murderer's file accidentally, you may get accused of a crime you didn't commit solely because someone messed up the data log.
 
2013-06-03 01:34:18 PM

demonocracy21: But if someone tips the police that some guy in apartment 3b is making bombs, and the police arrest me mistakenly in 3b-1, then my dna gets put into a national database


No. That's not what would happen. The police would mistakenly shoot you in the head during the raid. Ending all of your problems forever! So chin up, citizen! Everything's a-okay!
 
2013-06-03 01:34:38 PM

R.A.Danny: Let's look at the actual Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

Personally I find having my piehole swabbed to be the exact opposite to being secure in my person. I don't get it.


Any officer who feels a need to stick anything in my piehole has to at least bring flowers.
 
2013-06-03 01:36:42 PM
GODDAM LIBRULS TAKING AWAY OUR FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS!!1!  NOW'S THE TIME TO RISE UP, PATRIOTS!!!  GRAB YOUR FREEDOM GUNS AT MEET ME AT THE COURTHOUSE!!1

wait...what?  Really?

*Ahem*  Never mind.
 
2013-06-03 01:37:19 PM
Don't forget to read this awesome thread.

http://www.fark.com/comments/7777671/
 
2013-06-03 01:37:52 PM

mattharvest: zedster: mattharvest: zedster: there is precedent for DNA convicting family members of crimes

I'm not aware of any such case; can you please identify one?

http://www.denverda.org/dna/DNA_Partial_Match_DNA_Cases.htm

I don't think you read that page.  None of those are cases where a family member of the actual criminal was convicted due to DNA the criminal left behind.  All of those cases are cases where an actual criminal was identified by DNA partial matching.

Also, you appear unaware of what the word precedent means in legal context: it refers to a binding decision by a court (i.e. appellate level only) wherein a particular interpretation of law dictates to lower courts how they must rule.  What case are you talking about that establishes any precedent in this area?

What are you talking about?


He's talking about this:  Let's say you're arrested for some minor offense, drunk in public or something like that, and they take your DNA for their records.  It just so happens to partially match a DNA sample from a rape/murder/whatever case from 20 years ago and your father/brother/mother/sister/grandfather/whoever it matches with winds up getting arrested for it only because you got arrested.
 
2013-06-03 01:39:14 PM
I once took DNA from a cop to get out of a ticket.
 
2013-06-03 01:40:04 PM

wxboy: Perhaps someone would like to offer a reason why DNA is different from fingerprints?  Because I'm not seeing it.


Right now, it's that DNA is impractical as a means of identification. Taking fingerprints and using them to identify you take a matter of minutes, maybe hours, taking DNA and sequencing it and using it to identify you takes a matter of weeks, and if it's a simple arrest, chances are the identifying usage of that information will be long gone, since you'll have spent the night in the drunk tank, paid your fine, and moved on with your life well before the results ever come back.

But the real point is a bigger one. They don't want DNA to identify you, they want it to link you to other crimes. It is held as a right in a free society that you should not have to provide evidence that could lead to your incarceration without due process and a warrant issued by a judge. I don't like that they run your fingerprints, either, but at least they actually did use them for their nominal identification purposes.

I believe that if they really wanted to identify you, and only identify you, they should be allowed to take and keep retinal scans upon arrest. Your eyes don't change, and you don't leave eye-prints around where they can use the information gathered without a warrant to convict you of a crime. You want to put me in jail, you should have to work for it.
 
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