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NYCLU Supports Challenge To New York’s DNA Database Statute

Challenge to the New York State DNA Database: the NYCLU filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a challenge to the New York State DNA Database statute.

The New York State DNA Database statute mandates the extraction and indexing of an individual’s DNA merely on the basis of a person’s status as a convicted felon, not by individualized suspicion that the person has committed any other crime. The NYCLU argued that a search and seizure of the sort at issue in the taking and indexing of DNA samples pursuant to the New York State DNA Database statute can only be undertaken under the Fourth Amendment on the basis of “individualized suspicion” or a “special need unrelated to law enforcement;” that the taking and indexing of DNA under the New York statute does not rest on “individualized suspicion” and cannot be found to rest upon the “special needs” exception to the requirement of individualized suspicion because it is undertaken precisely for purposes of assisting in criminal investigations; and that, therefore, the statutory regime violates the Fourth Amendment.

It is undoubtedly true that were we to maintain DNA files on all persons living in this country we would make the resolution of criminal investigations easier. But the government may not invade an individual’s body and compel him to surrender sensitive information for inclusion in a permanent centralized government database in order to use that information someday as evidence in the prosecution of the individual from whom the DNA was compelled. Nicholas v. Goord

Click here to read the brief. (Requires the free Adobe Reader.)

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