The Courts continue to move the line in comfort with new technology.  King, arrested in 2009 on a violent offense was required to give a DNA swab.  Three weeks after giving the sample, and after it had been ran through the national database, the sample returned a match on an unsolved rape from 2004.  King was swabbed a second time which again produced a match.  He was charged with the crime of rape, tried and given a sentence of Life with no possibility of parole.  The Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, finding that the individual had a greater right in expectation of privacy than the state.  The Supreme Court, in an opinion that has left many debating because the judges did not line up in the usual conservative/liberal fashion, has ruled that it is admissible and reversed the Maryland Court of Appeals.  The Court’s decision signals the continued awareness of the use of technology in criminal prosecutions and its willingness to undertake these types of cases and craft answers.  The Court reasoned in this case:

“In light of the context of a valid arrest supported by probable cause respondent’s expectations of privacy were not offended by the minor intrusion of a brief swab of his cheeks. By contrast, that same context of arrest gives rise to significant state interests in identifying respondent not only so that the proper name can be attached to his charges but also so that the criminal justice system can make informed decisions concerning pretrial custody. Upon these considerations the Court concludes that DNA identification of arrestees is a reasonable search that can be considered part of a routine booking procedure. When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”  See full opinion: Maryland v. King