Police investigators can routinely collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for a serious crime to solve old cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The 5-4 ruling came in Maryland v. King, where a convicted rapist had argued his Fourth Amendment privacy rights were violated when police used DNA to connect him to an earlier crime. The court reinstated Alonzo King's conviction for a 2003 rape uncovered after his 2009 arrest for an unrelated assault.
Justice Anthony Kennedy disagreed with King's contention that the use of DNA evidence constituted a warrantless seizure. He said DNA collection is no different than taking a suspect's mug shot or fingerprints upon arrest.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia said he worried the ruling will allow law enforcement to collect DNA samples for minor offenses.
The federal government and at least 26 states now allow DNA collection at arrest, reports Bloomberg News.
Editor's note: Read full coverage of this decision in an upcoming Point of Law.