DNA is not the same as fingerprints.
Interestingly, Barry Scheck, founder of The Innocence Project, sides with Scalia. You can hear his comments on a video in the link below.
The case has sparked a robust dialogue surrounding a suspected criminal’s right to privacy. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” Dissenters of the decision believe that without a warrant, DNA sampling breaches an individual’s rights to privacy.
On All In with Chris Hayes Monday, attorney Barry Scheck sided with Scalia’s emphasis on privacy rights for Americans. Scheck, founder of The Innocence Project, an organization that helps prisoners prove their innocence through DNA testing, explained after the show why he falls on the side of the Supreme Court. Considering Scheck’s life work in exonerating prisoners, what makes him disagree with this use of the practice? Check out the video to find out his answer.
In addition to Scheck's reservations, others are concerned with overloading the DNA database, and unnecessarily contributing to the DNA backlog at the expense of taking DNA from actual crime scenes..
DNA testing has led to the exoneration of more than 300 people wrongly convicted of crimes. Yet the technology is far from fulfilling its promise of aiding law enforcement to identify criminals and letting the innocent go free. A Department of Justice study estimated that around 900,000 requests for biological screening, mostly DNA testing, were backlogged nationally at the end of 2009, the most recent year for which data is available. Meanwhile, large numbers of kits from routine arrests may be making the problem worse, argued Brandon Garrett, a professor at University of Virginia School of Law.
“As taking more DNA from arrestees has increased, the backlogs have increased at the expense of testing DNA from actual crime scenes,” he said.
Garrett also said that simply adding a DNA sample from everyone who is arrested might even make it harder for police to identify criminals, increasing the likelihood of false positives without adding any perpetrators to the system.
“A lot of innocent people will have their DNA in these databases,” he said. “That dilutes the databases and weakens their power.” He argued that since many criminals have prior convictions, taking samples only from convicts would be more efficient. The state’s constitutional authority to take samples from convicts is not disputed.
According to Barry Scheck, in unsolved crimes, it's important to take DNA from the crime scene, and have it analyzed within a week or so, and then enter it into the forensic database. If the system is very backlogged, with samples from innocent people, it may become more difficult to find the guilty because analysis of crime scene DNA will become too bogged down..