HOME
The Info List - Maryland V. King


--- Advertisement ---



(i)

In MARYLAND V. KING, 569 U.S. ___ (2013), the United States Supreme Court decided that "when officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA
DNA
is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment ." The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy , described Maryland's law as follows:

The Act authorizes Maryland law enforcement authorities to collect DNA
DNA
samples from "an individual who is charged with... a crime of violence or an attempt to commit a crime of violence; or... burglary or an attempt to commit burglary."

Maryland law defines a crime of violence to include murder, rape, first-degree assault, kidnaping, arson, sexual assault, and a variety of other serious crimes. Once taken, a DNA
DNA
sample may not be processed or placed in a database before the individual is arraigned (unless the individual consents). It is then that a judicial officer ensures that there is probable cause to detain the arrestee on a qualifying serious offense.

If "all qualifying criminal charges are determined to be unsupported by probable cause... the DNA
DNA
sample shall be immediately destroyed." DNA
DNA
samples are also destroyed if "a criminal action begun against the individual... does not result in a conviction,... the conviction is finally reversed or vacated and no new trial is permitted "or "the individual is granted an unconditional pardon."

133 S.Ct. at 1967 (citations to the Maryland statute omitted).

The majority balanced state interests relating to detaining and charging arrestees against the affected individuals' interests in their bodily integrity and informational privacy. It concluded that it is constitutionally reasonable for the state to undertake the "negligible" physical intrusion of swabbing the inside of the legitimately detained arrestee's cheeks and using limited data from the DNA
DNA
to determine whether the individual might be associated with a crime scene or victim.

CONTENTS

* 1 Background * 2 Decision * 3 Genetic and law enforcement technology used * 4 Implications * 5 Briefs * 6 Criticism * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links

BACKGROUND

The case was heard before the Supreme Court in February 2013, and a verdict was released four months later, in June 2013. Dr. Steven D. Schwinn's article titled "Fourth Amendment," published by the American Bar Association, best gives a full detailed progression of the case. Alonzo Jay King Jr. was arrested for first- and second-degree assault. As according to Maryland police protocol, the Maryland DNA
DNA
Collection Act, a DNA
DNA
sample was taken from King at the time of the arrest and entered into Maryland's database. It was matched to an unsolved rape case in 2003.

A Maryland officer presented the evidence to a Wicomico County grand jury, which called for an indictment, procured a warrant to obtain a second buccal DNA
DNA
sample that could be used as incriminating evidence for the 2003 rape case.

King filed a motion to suppress the DNA
DNA
evidence, stating that it infringed upon his Fourth Amendment rights, which prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures, in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. His motion was denied, and King pleaded not guilty to the charge of rape and appealed the ruling. The Maryland Court of Appeals then reversed the original ruling, agreeing that the DNA
DNA
sampling was a violation of the Fourth Amendment and could not be used as evidence.

The State of Maryland then appealed the ruling and called for the case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

DECISION

The decision was close, 5-4 in favor of Maryland. Justice Antonin Scalia , joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
, Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
, and Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan
, filed a scathing dissenting opinion. The justices maintained that "categorically" and "without exception," "The Fourth Amendment forbids searching a person for evidence of a crime when there is no basis for believing the person is guilty of the crime or is in possession of incriminating evidence" (133 S.Ct. at 1980). Some Supreme Court cases seem to contradict the claim.

The dissent also warned that "because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason" (133 S. Ct. at 1999).

Justice Scalia took the rare step of reading his dissent from the bench, "signaling deep disagreement" on the Court.

GENETIC AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY USED

Maryland's DNA
DNA
database laws began in 1994 and continued to expand until 2002. All felonies and some misdemeanors would result in that the suspect DNA
DNA
is entered into the State CODIS (Combined DNA
DNA
Index System) database. The DNA
DNA
is collected using a buccal swab, which is a brush inside of the cheek. The DNA
DNA
from the cheek cells in the swab is replicated, is given a restriction enzyme digest, and is electrophoresed.

Electrophoresis separates DNA
DNA
segments by their size, and different people have unique sizes of segments of DNA
DNA
because of variations in the DNA
DNA
sequence. The sequence modification allows governments, like Maryland's, to identify the alleles, versions of some loci or gene, of a person in the DNA. The collection of genetic markers allows for high precision identification of a suspected criminal from the DNA
DNA
samples found at crime scenes or on victims.

The genetic markers from an individual are searched against all other felons and arrestees in the database when police are attempting to compile evidence by the use of blood, saliva, skin, or other bodily fluids.

IMPLICATIONS

Maryland v. King
Maryland v. King
presented competing issues regarding social ethics and the law. The case deals with the issue of consent, because King did not give consent to a cheek swab that led to his DNA
DNA
being entered into the Maryland CODIS database. However, King did not find that to be an issue until after his arrest for a rape that took place nearly a decade earlier, predicated on the fact that his DNA
DNA
matched DNA acquired from the original rape victim. Regardless of how the evidence was obtained, King was considered a danger to society because of his association with a prior violent crime.

King and his lawyers argued that even a rapist is still a rightful citizen of society, who deserves equal protection according to the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment declares that no person shall be subject to an unreasonable search or seizure, which may be assumed to include DNA tests. Furthermore, after King was apprehended because his DNA
DNA
was matched with a sample collected from a rape case, King's appeal meant that his DNA
DNA
analysis was unlawful and could not be used as evidence. However, after a successful appeal from Maryland, the charge was reinstated.

The extent to which the case is a move toward replacing the rule (warrants must be based on probable cause), normally required with a general standard of reasonableness in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, has been debated. Instead of obtaining a warrant or tying the DNA swabbing to an individualized suspicion, taking DNA
DNA
soon after an arrest is justified based on reasonableness by weighing "the promotion of legitimate governmental interests" against "the degree to which intrudes upon an individual's privacy" (133 S.Ct. at 1970).

In later cases, the Court has continued to maintain that a warrant is required unless a well-defined categorical exception to the warrant requirement applies or the search is "special needs," "administrative" or "regulatory" one (such as random drug testing of student athletes) whose primary purpose is something other than the production of evidence for the investigation or prosecution of a crime. King thus remains one of only a handful of cases that stands outside this framework.

For the state of Maryland to be able to rightfully obtain and use the buccal sample from the defendant, King must first be arrested for a violent or serious crime. Then, an indictment for a court order would be placed to get a second DNA
DNA
sample to use for the rape case. If he was not convicted, his DNA
DNA
would have been destroyed.

A DNA
DNA
sample offers more insight than a simple fingerprint, aiding the police and protecting the arrestee from being wrongly convicted. Additionally, the sample serves the purpose of determining if the release of the arrestee poses a risk to the community, the victim, or the arrestee. At the conclusion of this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland in that there is no real difference between "the practice of how DNA
DNA
samples are used, and fingerprints, other than the unparalleled accuracy DNA
DNA
provides." The overall ruling is that it not a violation of the Fourth Amendment in that these samples are part of the protocol when a person is arrested for a serious or violent crime, and the DNA
DNA
get placed in the system and not be removed except on request.

The future implication of the ruling set the future precedent of allowing policing bodies to obtain buccal DNA
DNA
samples from arrested criminals. It can then be used to match convicts with other dangerous crimes, giving solace to families and protecting society.

BRIEFS

In the eyes of the defendant, Alonzo Jay King Jr., there was no evidence to link him to any pre-existing crimes. By taking a buccal sample without informed consent is against the law in that it is an unwarranted analysis of his DNA
DNA
sample, which is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. DNA
DNA
testing is not analogous to fingerprinting but an invasion of privacy that citizens have the "right to secure their persons, houses, papers, and effects." There cannot be exceptions for searches of parolees or a special needs exception, which does not require a warrant, because those arrested maintain reasonable expectations of privacy until conviction. Taking into account the balance of securities, the privacy interests outweigh the government's interests. The Maryland police officers did not follow due process and violated the right to privacy as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

As for the plaintiff, the Maryland DNA
DNA
Collection Act serves as a well-established, legitimate booking procedure for all individuals indicted on charges of violence or burglary. The act and the Maryland state CODIS database were established to keep communities safe by improving the criminal justice system and police investigation practices. A buccal swab is a painless, non-invasive medical procedure and all genetic information is determined from the CODIS regions of the genetic sample, which are commonly used in DNA identification procedures. It is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment because no other genetic information other than the CODIS regions are collected. Individuals give consent for their genetic data to be entered into the state of Maryland’s CODIS database and may request their data to be destroyed upon exoneration or dropped charges. The defendant did not request for his DNA
DNA
to be removed from the system until his DNA
DNA
matched with that of another crime that had been committed 10 years prior to the alleged assault.

CRITICISM

There are many critics of this case in response to the decision. The dissenting view claims that the potential benefits of finding actual perpetrators of cold cases and the possibility of freeing those wrongly convicted do not outweigh the critical privacy concerns. On the other hand, those in favor of the ruling see this case as an important weapon in fighting future crimes.

However, many Maryland citizens disagree with the ruling of this case, as they feel it is an invasion of privacy and Fourth Amendment rights. Collecting DNA
DNA
samples is still viewed as an infringement greater than the costs that accompany finding true perpetrators by the general public. The people fail to understand the justification of collecting DNA
DNA
samples without following the proper procedure for the collection. Allowing DNA
DNA
to be used in the case has caused some of the public to view the course of action as a direct violation of their Fourth Amendment right, as it is an unjust search without probable cause.

REFERENCES

* ^ Schwinn, Steven D, "Fourth Amendment." Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases (2013): 215. American Bar Association. * ^ David H. Kaye, Maryland v. King
Maryland v. King
Per Se Unreasonableness, the Golden Rule, and the Future of DNA
DNA
Databases, 127 Harv. L. Rev. F. 39, 40, 42-43 (2013) * ^ Adam Liptak (3 June 2013). "Justices Allow Police to Take DNA Samples After Arrests". The New York Times
The New York Times
. Retrieved 3 June 2013. * ^ A B Maryland Government, "Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Maryland." History of Maryland's DNA
DNA
Database. State of Maryland Government. * ^ Compare Erin Murphy, License, Registration, Cheek Swab: DNA Testing and the Divided Court, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 161 (2013), with David H. Kaye, Maryland v. King
Maryland v. King
Per Se Unreasonableness, the Golden Rule, and the Future of DNA
DNA
Databases, 127 Harv. L. Rev. F. 39, 40, 42-43 (2013) * ^ Little, Roy. "Supreme Court Summaries." American Bar Association: Criminal Justice Section (2013): p.2. American Bar Association. Web. 6 Nov. 2015. * ^ A B C State of Maryland, Petitioner v. Alonzo Jay King, Jr. 54. Supreme Court of the United States. Jan. 2013. American Government . * ^ Cornell University Law School. "Fourth Amendment." LII / Legal Information Institute. * ^ Sherkow, Jacob. "Maryland versus King: A Mouthful of Contradictions". Stanford Law School. N.p., June 3, 2013. * ^ A B Lempert, Richard. "Maryland v. King: An Unfortunate Supreme Court Decision on the Collection of DNA
DNA
Samples". The Brookings Institution. N.p., June 6, 2013.

FURTHER READING

* Kaye, David H. (2014). "Why So Contrived? The Fourth Amendment and DNA
DNA
Databases After Maryland v. King". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 104 (3): 535–596. SSRN 2376467  . * Kaye, David H. (2013). "Maryland v. King: Per Se Unreasonableness, the Golden Rule, and the Future of DNA
DNA
Databases". Harvard Law Review Forum. 127 (1): 39–48. SSRN 2340456  . * Kaye, David H. (2013). "A Fourth Amendment Theory for Arrestee DNA and Other Biometric Databases". University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. 15 (4): 1095–1160. SSRN 2043259  . * Murphy, Erin (2013). "License, Registration, Cheek Swab: DNA Testing and the Divided Court". 127 (1): 161–196. * Roth, Andrea (2013). " Maryland v. King
Maryland v. King
and the Wonderful, Horrible DNA
DNA
Revolution in Law Enforcement" (PDF). Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. 11 (1): 295–309.

EXTERNAL LINKS

.