California's DNA collection program continues to be challenged by civil libertarians who say the program is too broad. Currently in California, when a person is arrested for a felony, he or she is required to submit a mouth swab that is processed and stored in a state data bank.
Under the state's DNA collection program, expungement isn't automatic even if the charges are dropped or the person is acquitted. In order to have the DNA removed from the database in California, persons have to apply, even if the charges are dropped.
In other states, the terms of the DNA collection programs are much more specific. For example, in Maryland, DNA samples are only collected from persons arrested for violent felonies and burglary. The genetic evidence is only stored after arraignment and is thrown out if the person is acquitted.
In California, the DNA profiles stored in the database are routinely compared to genetic evidence found at crimes scenes, making it easier to tie criminals to other crimes.
Those in opposition to the state's DNA program argue that it is too broad and are pushing to have the state law overturned. Concerns over whether the program violates the 4th Amendment are also at the forefront of the argument.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld Maryland's DNA collection program. We will see what this means for the “broader” program in California.
As a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, Vitaly Sigal helps protect the rights of individuals charged with felonies. He works tirelessly to get his clients' charges dropped or reduced and also helps his clients apply for the removal of their DNA from the criminal database when appropriate.