A New Jersey judge ruled that criminals can demand that their DNA samples be destroyed after they complete their prison sentences, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. If the decision stands up, it would severely limit a 2003 law that requires everyone convicted of a crime to submit a DNA sample. “Once a felon has paid his or her debt to society and has fully resumed civilian life, the state’s right to maintain that person’s DNA sample withers,” said Judge Jack Sabatino of Mercer County.
Attorney General Peter Harvey will appeal the ruling, which he said undermines the purpose of maintaining a DNA database: “To determine if a career criminal has done it again.” Sabatino said a DNA sample intrudes on a citizen’s privacy far more than a photograph or fingerprint. “A DNA sample has the scientific capacity, whether it is utilized by the government or not, to reveal far more information about a person than his or her outward appearance or the contours of his or her fingerprints,” he wrote. “Subjected to certain laboratory analyses, a DNA sample may expose massive amounts of private traits such as a person’s family history, health and propensity for certain diseases.”