DNA Testing As Condition For U.S. Bail Release OK’d By Split Court


In the first appellate court decision on the subject, a split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit says DNA testing is a legitimate condition of release on bail for a federal defendant charged with a felony, reports the Sacramento Bee. Before a federal felony can be charged, there must be probable cause to believe the defendant has committed the crime, the court majority said. Under those circumstances the government’s interest in definitively identifying the defendant “outweighs the defendant’s privacy interest in giving a DNA sample as a condition of pre-trial release.”

The case grew out of the refusal of Jerry Pool to submit to a DNA test as a bail condition. Pool, a 68-year-old truck driver, is charged with possessing and receiving child pornography. He has no prior criminal record. Recent federal law amendments expanded the DNA requirement to felony defendants and made it a condition of pre-trial release. In a dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder declared that no circuit “has ever before approved such a warrantless search or seizure before an individual has been convicted of any crime.”

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