The American Civil Liberties Union will try tomorrow to convince a Federal appellate court in San Francisco that DNA collection of innocent citizens is unConstitutional and an attack on personal liberty. The ACLU wants to get rid of California’s Proposition 69, a proposition which allows police to obtain DNA from every person arrested on felony charges.
All those arrested on felony charges have their cheek swabbed with a cotton swab. This gives the State information on those who are found not guilty and released. About 11,000 samples are collected monthly.
Maryland enacted a similar law, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unConstitutional in April.
Those in favor of such laws say that DNA is just part of the justice process, allowing people to be found even decades after a crime. But the ACLU believes that if DNA is taken from a person who is found innocent, the innocent person’s privacy has been violated.
Lily Haskell was arrested, charged with a felony and swabbed for DNA after attending an anti-war rally in San Francisco. Charges were quickly dropped.
“Now my genetic information is stored indefinitely in a government database, simply because I was exercising my right to speak out,” Haskell said.