House extends controversial DNA collection law

The Baltimore Sun

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether to strike down Maryland's controversial DNA collection law, the House of Delegates on Thursday voted to extend it. 

The 2009 law allows police to collect DNA samples from people arrested for certain violent crimes. It is set to sunset at the end of the year. By a 135-1 vote, the House decided to make it permanent.  The measure now moves to the Senate.

In late February, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the law violated the Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure.

At the center of the case is the rape conviction of a Wicomico County man whose DNA was linked to that crime after he was arrested on a separate charge. His attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union have argued the law erodes constitutional protections. The man, they argue, had an expectation of a right to privacy as it concerns evidence for crimes unrelated to the one for which he was arrested.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and some Maryland prosecutors have endorsed the law as crucial part of the law enforcement system.

In the program's first three years, more than 33,700 samples were collected, and they led to 42 arrests and 13 convictions, according to an April 2012 report by the Maryland State Police

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