Skip to comments.State to double crime searches using family DNA[California]
Posted on 05/11/2011 7:27:27 PM PDT by Palter
California's success in using 'familial searching' spurs Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris to increase funding for the controversial genetic sleuthing technique in rape, murder and cold cases.
A young man followed a woman into a coffee shop as she prepared to open for business at 6 a.m. He put a knife to her throat, sexually assaulted her, barricaded her in a walk-in refrigerator and grabbed cash from the register before vanishing.
The March 2008 attack near the Santa Cruz Harbor in a low-crime neighborhood unnerved the community and spawned an intense police hunt.
"It is the kind of attack that communities most fear a stranger attacking somebody who truly is just an innocent victim going about their lives," said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.
Police dogs, fliers containing a composite sketch of the suspect and a search of the DNA offender database failed to net a suspect until the state earlier this year traced the suspect through the DNA of his father, a felon whose genetic profile was stored in the database.
Although such genetic sleuthing, known as familial searching, remains controversial California is one of only three states that permit the technique Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has increased the budget to double the number of such searches and reduce a DNA backlog.
"California is on the cutting edge of this in many ways," Harris, who replaced Jerry Brown as the state's top law enforcement officer in January, said in an interview last week. "I think we are going to be a model for the country. I really do."
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
I thought the Constitution said something specific about that.
Won’t be long before DNA samples will be taken from every citizen in the US, be they old or new born. With this future mandate, all semblance of privacy will be gone.
Not sure why this is so controversial unless the probability of DNA matching of the family member to the perp is so low that asking for a sample would be an unreasonable search. Lawyers are typically very challenged when it comes to hard sciences and so typically make very bad decisions (just look at the application of the endangered species act). The fact that California is using this makes me suspect that the science isn’t too good on this so would like to see a better explanation before I would say this is a good thing or not.
The DNA inference from parent to child or vice versa would need to be well nigh perfect to stand up in a criminal court as primary evidence. Where things might get cloudy is where the match is known to be badly imperfect but the government wants to use that as probable cause for search or seizure. On the other hand, could a poor match through a parent be viewed as the equivalent of an alibi without the suspect ever having to surrender a permanent sample of his own DNA?
Imagine being the only known male relative of the guy on file in a case like this, and the SWAT bangs in your door. Except that you have a half brother you didn’t know about - nobody knows about him including your dad. DNA will eventually clear you but in the meanwhile you’re in for some considerable unpleasantness.
You’re right I hadn’t thought of that. You could also look at this the other way. What if Mr Perps dad got around so there are now several children that you would have to seize their DNA in order to find out which one actually did the crime. That would be illegal search and seizure in my book on those sons that were not guilty of any crime.
Exactly. Which is one reason no one is proposing that. Or doing anything at all like that.
bill of attainder - an item of legislation inflicting attainder without judicial process.I thought the Constitution said something specific about that.
CORRUPTION OF BLOOD, English crim. law.
- The incapacity to inherit, or pass an inheritance, in consequence of an attainder to which the party has been subject
- When this consequence flows from an attainder, the party is stripped of all honors and dignities he possessed, and becomes ignoble.
- The Constitution of the United States, Amendm. art. 5, provides, that no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval, forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger" and by art. 3, s. 3, n. 2, it is declared that "no attainder of treason shall work. corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted."
- The Constitution of Pennsylvania, art. 9, s. 19, directs that "no attainder shall work corruption of blood." 3 Cruise, 240, 378 to 381, 473 1 Cruise, 52 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 740; 4 Bl. Com. 388.
I think neither of those strictures is relevant.
If you called it an "unreasonable search," tho, you might have a point.
The question seems to revolve around privacy of DNA, compared with privacy of facial features. DNA technology, like finger print technology before it, associates identity with small features not easily kept private. You'd have to be pretty careful, and seem a lot like a kook, to keep your fingerprints private from someone who was determined to get them. You couldn't touch your car with your bare hands, for example. In order to keep your DNA private you would have to do God knows what in order to keep from casually shedding DNA from your skin. And you could never give blood, and certainly you could never give a sample for any blood test. Nobody would think anything of it if a witness picked a perp out of a lineup based on facial appearance. And there are laws against wearing masks in public . . .
This passed as Prop 69 in 2004.