Is the Use of Familial DNA a Violation of Constitutional Rights?

Technology has proven time and time again that it has the capability of simplifying our lives in a number of ways. However, one technological step forward is garnering criticism for being a potential invasion of privacy. According to a cnn.com article, a 2008 case was recently solved thanks to DNA found at the scene that did not match that of the suspect, but that of the suspect’s brother.

Because the individual whom the DNA belonged to was not in Colorado’s criminal database, initial results did not link him to the 2008 incident. However, investigators used new software that was part of a study being conducted by the district attorney’s office. This was done in order to see whether or not the DNA sample was a close enough match to any other individuals already in the criminal database. Ultimately, such a tactic was conducted in hopes that some sort of familial match would aid the investigation process. It worked.

Opponents of this new method argue that using DNA to locate individuals not associated with the crime committed, and then basing an investigation on such a connection, is a violation of the fourth amendment. However, law enforcement insists that DNA information gathered in this manner will not be used in a court of law as evidence, but will simply be used as an investigation lead that may or may not help them track down a suspect. According to the article, investigators compare this new technology tactic to an eyewitness in an auto accident only being able to obtain a partial license plate. In the same manner that the individual doesn’t know exactly what the entire number was, the individual is still able to provide law enforcement with a starting point for their investigation.

Whether or not this new search technique becomes commonplace in Colorado criminal investigations has yet to be seen. In Maryland, for instance, the practice has been banned altogether. Here at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Colorado Springs defense lawyers will monitor further developments of this search method. In the meanwhile, we will continue to examine the circumstances surrounding our clients’ arrests, and will mount defenses on their behalf given those circumstances. If you stand accused and would like valuable information about your defense, please don’t hesitate to call us today at 719-475-2555.

Source Article: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/17/colorado.family.dna/

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