Gowen Rhoades WInograd & Silva PLLC Blog

Information and insight on today's hot legal topics.

Gowen Rhoades WInograd & Silva PLLC Blog - Information and insight on today's hot legal topics.

Maryland DNA Law Going to U.S. Supreme Court

Special thanks to Gowen Group Law Clerk John Langlois for producing this post. 

lab photo from Flickr

On November 9th, 2012 the United States Supreme Court granted review of the case of Maryland v. King to determine if collecting and analyzing the DNA of people arrested and charged with serious crimes is allowed under the Fourth Amendment. The case will be reviewed next year.

The review is in response to a ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals. That state court held that collection of DNA samples from arrestees prior to conviction violated the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable, warrantless searches. Maryland first enacted legislation establishing a DNA database in 1994. Collection of DNA samples was originally limited to individuals convicted of violent crimes or attempts at those crimes. In 2008 the law was expanded to allow collection upon arrest rather than after conviction.

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Gowen Group Lawyers Call ‘Em As They See ‘Em

umpires at plate conferenceA common metaphor used in describing judges is that they are like umpires: they need to be impartial, are required to apply a body of rules to a situation, and they make decisions that are typically not of a black and white nature and will probably end up upsetting one of the two parties. Gowen Group partners Bill Phelan and Peter Silva can appreciate this metaphor more than most attorneys considering their litigation experience and the fact that they enjoy the unique opportunity of working together on the baseball diamond as umpires.

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