Advocates Say Maine’s DNA Bill Violates Constitution
May 3, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
Civil rights advocates and Tea Party members have expressed their disdain for a bill in Maine that would significantly expand the State's DNA sampling procedures.
The legislation, which is being considered by lawmakers, would mandate that law enforcement officials collect DNA samples from all individuals arrested for murder, sex crimes against children as well as Class A, B or C offenses. If approved, the law would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, according to The Exception magazine.
Opponents of the proposal claim that the measure would violate suspects' civil liberties that are protected by the 14th Amendment, which says that the State cannot "deprive anyone of life, liberty or property, without due process of law." Andrew Ian Dodge, a leader of the Maine Tea Party Patriots, told the media outlet that his group will be "appalled" if this "further intrusion into individual rights" is approved.
"What happens to the DNA of those found innocent of whatever crime they are accused of?" Ian Dodge told the news source.
According to the Bangor Daily News, State Representative Maeghan Maloney (D-Augusta), said 24 other States have already implemented a similar law. She added that DNA sampling can exonerate individuals who are innocent as well as help track down suspected criminals.
However, Shenna Bellows, the executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, has argued that this bill violates an individual's fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches, which is enshrined in the 4th Amendment. She told the news provider that it is wrong to collect DNA from suspects who have not yet been convicted of a crime.