ACLU Sues to Block Collection of DNA After Arrests

From Associated Press

Calling it an unconstitutional and “vicious assault” on privacy, civil rights advocates sued in federal court Tuesday to stop the implementation of recently passed Proposition 69, which expands California’s DNA database to include samples from people who are arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, but not necessarily convicted.

“California now has the most draconian program for the collection, retention and sharing of DNA data in existence anywhere in the United States,” according to the suit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The suit names as defendants state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer as well as law enforcement officials.


Beginning in 2009, the initiative requires the state to take samples of genetic material from anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, even if they are never charged or convicted.

Those acquitted or never charged can petition to have their sample destroyed.

Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), statewide co-chairman of the campaign for Proposition 69, said he was sure the law would be upheld.

“The taking of DNA is the exact same as taking a photograph or fingerprint at the time of arrest and making it a part of one’s criminal record whether or not it results in a conviction,” he said.

“The courts absolutely recognize that law enforcement needs to keep up with scientific advancement when it comes to fighting crime.”