Okay, before I go any farther, let me explain why I am writing about such a weird topic. I know it's not included in my normal foray into the interesting. But I read an article this morning about a guy who was arrested for a violent crime after photos and fingerprints convinced the police he was their guy. This particular dirtbag lives in a state where the police automatically take a cheek swab of DNA from anyone arrested of a violent crime. Said DNA goes into the database, and in this particular occasion, returned as a match for some DNA gathered at a rape ten years ago. Suddenly, this guy goes from one (minor in the grand scheme of things) charge to two (one minor and one definitely life changing). Enter savvy dirtbag lawyer and the appeals court, and now the Supreme Court will have to decide if this guy's 4th Amendment rights were violated and he was the victim of illegal search and seizure, since the state didn't have a warrant for his DNA.
If the guy wins, he gets off scot-free from a DNA-proven rape case, his charges go back down to second-degree assault, and violent criminals everywhere will be saved from having previous, able-to-be-proven-through-DNA-only crimes found out about. If the guy loses, he will get life in prison with no parole, and this state will continue confiscating violent criminals' DNA without their consent, and maybe even other states will decide to start taking DNA without asking first.
My opinion is that yes, it should be legal. If the goal is to solve crimes, then at birth everyone's fingerprints and DNA should be taken and filed away somewhere in a massive, privacy-ensuring hive brain computer, to sit and gather electronic dust until it's called up when someone commits a crime. Be honest. If you knew the police had your DNA already in their database, would you think twice before committing a crime? I know I would. I mean, gloves are like, duh, wear them if you're going to break in somewhere, but nobody already has your DNA. They have to suspect you first. And if you just line up an alibi and act all innocent, no one will suspect a thing! But if they already have your DNA, well, then you'll have to buy one of those body suits so none of your DNA comes off in the crime, and then people are definitely going to remember someone coming and going in a body suit, and the police will do a whole lot more poking around and your alibi might fall apart and you would have been better off just taking a chance on your flaky DNA and going suitless in the first place.
Obviously, the threat of prison isn't a big enough deterrent, because people think they can get away with stuff. And looking at that 10-year old cold case, I'd say they were right. But look at what busted the guy. DNA. Now if they had his DNA already, he would have been arrested the very next morning. And then he wouldn't have committed the violent crime that got him arrested anyway. It's definitely a win-win situation.
At the end of the article, the author put forth some questions. One of them was, does it matter if the DNA is skin, cheek, hair, or blood. I don't really know what the difference is...so...no, it doesn't matter? One commentor raised the point that if criminals can get their DNA stolen from them, then the next logical step is for the beat cop to carry around a DNA-gathering device for red-light runners. But if your DNA has already been collected, then does that matter? Or am I one step in the wrong direction away from being pro-communist, fascist, and all other bad -ists?