Court Rules that California Inmates Can Be Forced to Submit DNA

The federal appeals court approved the right of California law enforcement officials to collect DNA samples from people arrested for felonies. This practice has been in place for some time, but was recently appealed because of privacy concerns raised by the forced DNA collections. The court ruled that the law enforcement officials' interest in identifying crime suspects, solving cold cases and clearing those wrongly accused of crimes overshadowed the concern for privacy.

The appeal was in response to a lawsuit filed by four Californians who were charged with felony crimes but never convicted. They challenged the right of law enforcement to collect DNA samples from those who are accused but not convicted, stating that it was an unconstitutional search and seizure. There have been roughly 20,000 "hits" connecting suspects with crimes since the practice of collecting DNA began, and the state Department of Justice firmly believes that it is an effective tool in finding criminals.

When you consider that one-third of the 30,000 people arrested in California for felonies each year are never actually charged with felonies, you can see why the state wouldn't want to go through the trouble of removing the DNA information for those who haven't been convicted. The state has made it possible for individuals who were never convicted to have their DNA information removed through the process of expungement. If you were charged with a felony offense in Southern California but never convicted, a Los Angeles defense lawyer at our firm can help you file for expungement to have the DNA information removed. We strongly believe in your privacy rights and we will fight for you so that you can have a clean record. This process can be legally complex, and we recommend that you contact our firm today to get started.