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Feds Can Collect DNA as a Condition of Bail, Ninth Circuit Decides

By Brandon Sample

Amendments to the Bail Reform Act requiring a defendant to consent to the collection of DNA before being granted bail do not offend the Fourth Amendment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided in a splintered 2-1 decision September 14, 2010.

The court held that the amendment withstood constitutional scrutiny largely because the DNA could only be used for identification purposes as opposed to determining genetic traits. “Once there has been a determination of probable cause to believe that an individual has committed a federal felony,” the court wrote, “the individual no longer has any ‘right’ or legitimate expectation of keeping his or her identity from the government.”

Judge Schroeder, dissenting, argued that the majority’s holding created an exemption to the Fourth Amendment of impermissible ‘magnitude.” See: United States v. Pool, 621 F.3d 1213 ( 9th Cir. 2010).

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Related legal case

United States v. Pool