US Supreme Court Upholds Warrantless DNA Collection

Jun 5, 2013

Credit Department of Justice, FBI

Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court means the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and other state and local law enforcement agencies can continue collecting D.N.A. samples from people arrested for certain felony crimes. 

Florida is one of 28 states that collects D.N.A. samples upon a person’s arrest for any felony crime on an approved list. 

According to Gretl Plessinger, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, state lawmakers approved the practice in 2011.

"Which allowed Florida to start collecting D.N.A. samples for murder, assault, sexual battery, lewd and lacivious acts, felony burglary, theft, and robbery."

D.N.A .samples collected at the time of an arrest are compared to crime scene evidence that’s been entered into CODIS, the F-B-I’s national D.N.A. identification system

JSO Chief Tom Hackney
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

JSO Chief Tom Hackney says it’s a valuable crime solving tool.

"Just this week we announced an arrest that came as a result in a murder case of a D.N.A. hit that we got, that was a CODIS hit, from a murder on Miss Muffet Lane in Jacksonville earlier this year."

But just because a D.N.A. sample is collected at the time of a felony arrest, Chief Hackney says, that doesn’t mean it will become a permanent entry in the national database.

According to Hackney, only D.N.A. samples taken from people who are later convicted of a crime are kept active in the CODIS system.