SCOTUS Allows Routine Police DNA Swabs-Maryland v King


In a 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion comparing a DNA swab to fingerprinting and photographing, and that the practice is a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the 4th amendment.  But in the dissent, which Justice Scalia read aloud, that today’s decision will result in the government recording DNA into a national database upon any arrest, rightly or wrongly.

The decision overturned a Maryland Court’s reversal of Alonzo King’s rape conviction.  King was charged and convicted of rape resulting from the Police swabbing his DNA after an unrelated charge  (and sentenced to life in prison).

Curiously in the 5-4 decision Breyer sided with Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas, while Scalia sided with the dissent, comprised of himself, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan.