By Jesse J. Holland
Washington — The Supreme Court will soon decide what one justice called its most important criminal procedure case in decades: whether to allow police to take DNA samples from people who have been arrested.
Police already swab those who have been convicted, but want justices to say it’s also constitutional to take DNA after arrest. Opponents say police should get a warrant, calling it an invasion of genetic privacy.
Justice Samuel Alito, a former prosecutor, called this case one of the court’s most important, saying DNA collection is the fingerprinting of the 21st century.
Opponents questioned whether police have the right to invade people’s bodies with a cheek swab in hopes of solving an old case, but prosecutors called it a minimal intrusion.
Justices will make a decision later this year.