AZ Court: Analyzing Teen Defendant DNA Is Improper Warrantless Search


Analyzing the DNA samples of juveniles who have not been found guilty of any crime is an unconstitutional warrantless search, says an Arizona Supreme Court ruling reported by Capitol Media Services. In a unanimous decision, the justices said the state is free to force juveniles accused of certain serious offenses to provide a DNA sample. Justice Andrew Hurwitz, writing for the court, said that is little difference than fingerprints or mug shots.

Hurwitz said that parallel ceases once the state submits that sample for processing by the Department of Public Safety crime laboratory. He said that processing results in the state obtaining “uniquely identifying information about individual genetics.” What it also means, he said, is that DNA profile is placed into both state and national databases so police agencies can use it to see if a youth is linked to any unsolved crimes. The justices said that, absent a juvenile actually being adjudicated delinquent, there is no reason for the government to have that information.

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