Fourth Amendment: D.N.A. Samples and Search Warrants (Research Paper Sample)
Whether under the fourth law enforcement can obtain DNA information without a warrant?
An Introduction: The introduction to the paper topic should succinctly describe the issue you are presenting. (dont bury the lead what is the point of your paper?)
A Summary of the Issue: Why is the issue you are researching and analyzing important to privacy law?
Legal Analysis: A description and analysis of the pertinent legal authorities involved with the issue you are evaluating. Please be sure that your legal analysis section is robust. There are many cases that deal with DNA and be sure you include many of them (as appropriate) in analyzing the law.
Policy Analysis: What are the policy considerations involved, and what are your policy recommendations? The policy analysis section should flow from the law, and generate some recommendations for policymakers.
Conclusion: Summarize the important points articulated in your paper.
Fourth Amendment: D.N.A. Samples and Search Warrants
Fourth Amendment: D.N.A. Samples and Search Warrants
Deoxyribonucleic acid (D.N.A.) carries sensitive data about individuals, including their identity, belonging, and medical information. In the recent past, scientific understanding of genetics has improved. As a result, D.N.A. has found more uses than what it traditionally collected (Berson, 2020). For example, some jurisdictions are using D.N.A. collected for medical purposes for other functions such as research and identity verification. The Fourth Amendment places limits on the collection and testing of D.N.A. As a result, policymakers are increasingly dealing with legal issues revolving around collecting D.N.A. samples from individuals who have been convicted of a wide array of crimes (Berson, 2020). Indeed, the practice of collecting D.N.A. from suspected or convicted criminals has become hugely controversial.
Notably, the courts have routinely upheld laws that authorize the collection of the material from former and current convicts and suspects. The resultant databases have become potent tools of analysis of forensic evidence that law enforcers collect from crime scenes (Kolenc, 2020). These databases have helped the criminal justice system clear innocent suspects and enhance the productivity of law enforcement investigations (Berson, 2020). Moreover, there has been a proliferation of private databases that store D.N.A. information voluntarily uploaded by customers, and law enforcers have accessed those databases in search of raw genetic materials that can help them with evidence.
Whether the use of D.N.A. derived from third-party platforms violates the Fourth AmendmentAmendment, has been considered by legal scholars and commentators. The legality of D.N.A. collection during an arrest has also aroused many controversial debates in legal circles, with some commentators arguing that it violates the 4th amendment guarantees when done without a warrant. In contrast, others argue that the interests of a state to safeguard its people supersede the privacy rights of a suspected criminal, meaning that extracting D.N.A. samples at arrest is a reasonable search that does not require a warrant (Berson, 2020). The current report discusses the limits of the fourth amendment on the collection of D.N.A. by law enforcement. Specifically, it deals with the question of whether law enforcers require a warrant to obtain D.N.A. from third party platforms and whether taking D.N.A. samples during arrest, when done without a warrant, violates the 4th amendment.
Summary of the Issue
Each instance of wrongdoing that involves unauthorized utilization or disclosure of D.N.A. information obtained from an offender or arrestee database attracts a fine of $250,000 or a one-year jail sentence. Similarly, states have related penalties that range between punitive fines and imprisonment. However, at least 20 states and the national government have passed laws that require law enforcers to collect D.N.A. upon the arrest of an offender (Berson, 2020). These laws have raised concerns that crime laboratories may not have the capacity to deal with the influx of D.N.A. samples from new sources. Besides, concerns that pre-conviction collection of D.N.A. material can violate Fourth Amendment privacy provisions have arisen, accompanied by worries about the potential abuse of genetic materials stored in databases. On the other hand, some people feel that state and federal privacy penalties and regulations are more stringent for crime labs than private entities that collect genetic materials from blood and saliva for insurance or medical functions.
The most significant concern about the collection of pre-conviction D.N.A. relates to the fourth amendment search and seizure provisions. The provision protects people against unreasonable intrusions, especially by the government which can abuse the law by searching suspects and seizing their possessions to conduct investigations. . Indeed, the interpretation of this statute means that probable cause and a warrant are needed before searches and seizures are conducted (Thompson, 2014). Courts have for a long-time interpreted collection and analysis of D.N.A. as a search. However, they have not definitively dealt with the legal status of pre-conviction D.N.A. sampling.
Whether a warrant is needed before the collection of pre-conviction D.N.A. was complicated by the courts, which ruled opposite sides of the issue. In Anderson v. Commonwealth, the judges argued that the collection of D.N.A. from the defendant before conviction did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights. Within the same year, another court made a contrary ruling in re Welfare of C.T.L., saying that pre-conviction D.N.A. collection violates the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights(Berson, 2020). As a result of these legal conflicts, there is a lack of consensus about the extent to which warrantless obtaining of D.N.A. materials from suspects or convicts violates the Fourth Amendment privacy laws.
This research is important to privacy laws as it attempts to establish whether there are situations that require a warrant before the police obtain D.N.A. materials and others that they do not need. Its purpose is to identify instances in which privacy is violated when D.N.A. material is collected by police, meaning that they should obtain a warrant first in such circumstances (Touchstone, 2019). Besides, it will identify those that do not require a warrant meaning that they would not have violated the amendment if they took D.N.A. materials from suspects or convicts without a warrant. The clarity that will arise from this research will help in further protection of privacy laws.
The Fourth Amendment to the American constitution has two clauses that ban unreasonable searches and seizures. What is more, the statute has another clause that specifies the requirements for those wanting to obtain or retrieve private information to get a search warrant first. The amendment has a line that distinguishes between how conduct private actors conduct their search and how government does it. Indeed, it is only the conduct of the government that raises a potential legal issue as per the Fourth Amendment (Thompson, 2014). A search arises if the judiciary determines or believes that the govern actors or agencies have violated the guaranteed reasonable expectation of privacy by an individual.
In its determination of Katz vs. the United States in 1967, the US Apex court established a two-part test regarding the relationship between searches and privacy. The first test establishes whether the affected person had an actual or subjective expectation of privacy. A second part exists, establishing where the expectation is socially recognized as reasonable (Berson, 2020). Notably, the Fourth Amendment law is complicated by two 19th century developments that gained pace in the 20th century and the 21st. The transition from an agrarian economy to a capitalist commercial one between the 19th and 20th centuries complicated the fourth amendment provision on privacy (Stimson & Smith, 2021). Additional complications happened during the transition to the technology-based economy in the late 20th century and 21st.
During the transition to the commercial economy from the agrarian one, people’s expectations of privacy significantly declined as they gave banks and financial institutions large amounts of information about themselves to benefit from their financial products (Berson, 2020). People gave up their right to claim that any privacy expectation protects the information they gave out. The advent of technology further diminished these expectations as emerging technologies such as smartphones and computers take up data that would have been considered private in the 18th century (Stimson & Smith, 2021). Seemingly, courts today have to square up the rights that individuals are guaranteed under the 4th amendment with the conventional notions of privacy. Many courts have adopted an incremental approach by resolving cases individually based on the technology in question and applying the Fourth Amendment guidelines instead of generally applying the law.
In 2001, the court ruled that the police had violated the amendment's provisions in Kyllo vs. the United States. The police had used a thermal imaging device to detect heat that emanated from inside the home where marijuana was suspected to be growing. Later in 2012, the court, in Jones v United States, ruled that attaching a G.P.S. device to a suspect's car for more than almost a month to collect data about the location of the car without a warrant was a violation of privacy expectations of the suspect (Stimson & Smith, 2021). The court ruled that such a physical intrusion amounted to a search, and the police needed a warrant. Another similar ruling was made in Riley v California where the jury unanimously argued that police must get a warrant before they conduct a digital information search in a cell phone seized from an arrestee.
Carpenter V United States is another case whose ruling relates to the government needs a warrant before retrieving cell site location information from providers to deal with a suspected robbery case. However, the ruling was different from the three previous ones cited in this report, as the court argued that the defendants' expectations of privacy were not violated during the search (Stimson & Smith, 2021). According to the judge, the information was not derived directly from the defendant but from a third party which means that a Fourth Amendment violati...
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