Houman Fakhimi

Chino Crime Suspects Subject to DNA Draw, Per Supreme Court Order

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision grants law enforcement authorities in California and throughout the country the power to extract your DNA profile and run that information through state and national databases without your consent.

The only requirement is that you have been arrested for a "serious" crime, which may or may not be a felony.

Our Chino criminal defense attorneys know that the majority opinion argued that extraction of DNA was a benign procedural effort in the course of the booking procedure, used primarily for identification of the suspect.

However, we all know it's about far more than that. Once the government has your DNA, it can be used to run through its systems to determine whether you may be connected to other crimes. Primarily, these would be crimes where DNA evidence would be critical to the investigation or prosecution. We tend to think of it as solely being used for crimes such as sexual battery and homicides. Increasingly, however, as the technology becomes further advanced, cheaper and more accessible, it's being collected as evidence in cases ranging from bar fights to break-ins.

What this means for you is that if you are arrested and you know your DNA could link you to another crime, you will have double the reason to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. It's possible that DNA might not have been collected from that previous crime scene or that a match might not be made. But if it is, you don't want to be caught unprepared.

Having a good defense attorney at the earliest stages of your case can help you to avoid critical mistakes that could sink your defense. We can advise you on what to say - and what not to say - to authorities. We can act as your advocate in assuring that all your rights are protected. We can also help deflect potentially damaging media inquiries should the case rise to that level.

Still, the Supreme Court ruling in Maryland v. King is troubling, for the simple fact that it does not require a conviction in order for DNA to be drawn and analyzed. What's more, the definition of "serious" crime is not clearly designated.

A federal court in the Eastern District of California decided in 2009 inU.S. v. Pool that collection of a DNA sample - either blood or saliva - was legal if the person had been arrested for a federal felony. That decision was later upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit.

However, in People v. Buza, the California Court of Appeals ruled in August 2011 that the California DNA Act, which in part requires felony arrestees to submit to a DNA sample for analysis by law enforcement - even without independent suspicion, a warrant or even a grand jury determination of probable cause - unreasonably intrudes upon the arrestees' expectation of privacy and, as such, is unconstitutional per the Fourth Amendment.

It now appears though that the U.S. Supreme Court decision inMaryland v. King trumps that earlier ruling.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are arrested in Chino.

Additional Resources

Maryland v. King, Decided June 3, 2013, U.S. Supreme Court.