The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled this week 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. Tell us in comments.
Local law enforcement officials are among those protesting the ruling.
Howard County State’s Attorney Dario J. Broccolino, president of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association, said in a press release that the ability to collect DNA samples from suspects is an “important crime fighting tool.”
William McMahon, Howard CountyChief of Police and president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association said in a statement that DNA collection as a tool, "has been invaluable in our effort and duty to keep citizens safe."
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, 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.
Do you think police should have the right to search a person arrested under suspicion of committing or attempting a violent crime? Or do you agree with the ruling that it is a violation of rights?