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Shellenberger: SCOTUS DNA Decision Won't Have Immediate Impact

Chief Justice John Roberts stays Maryland Court of Appeals ruling striking down the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for felonies.

UPDATED (6:21 p.m.)—Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said a Supreme Court order Wednesday will not result in the immediate resumption of collecting DNA samples from people arrested for certain crimes.

"I'm not prepared to tell county police to start collecting DNA from arrestees," Shellenberger said. "I think we need something a little more solid before we start changing procedures."

Chief Justice John Roberts' order stayed an April Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that barred law enforcement from collecting DNA samples from people arrested and charged with felonies.

The Court of Appeals made the 5-2 ruling in the case of Alonzo King who was arrested in 2009. Wicomico County collected King's DNA at the time of his arrest and later charged him in a 2003 rape, for which he was ultimately convicted.

Lawyers for King argued that the DNA swab violated their client's Fourth Amendment rights.

Baltimore County police almost immediately after the Court of Appeals ruling.

Roberts has given King's attorneys until July 25 to respond.

Shellenberger said he might revisit the issue of DNA collection by county police after that date.

"There's no sense in changing the policy and run the risk of having to reverse it if Chief Justice Roberts lifts the stay," Shellenberger said. "Right now we need continuity."

Baltimore County police are also watching the Supreme Court's actions closely.

Elise Armacost, a police spokeswoman, said Chief Jim Johnson was happy with the stay issued by Roberts but the department is not prepared to start collecting DNA samples.

"It's too soon," Armacost said. "We're evaluating the ruling to confirm that it means what it appears to mean."

Buck Harmon July 19, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Na...criminals are the ones with the guns now....human beings would tend to rely on personal instinct rather than a broken system....something most have never tried...
Buck Harmon July 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
All of my comments are just thinking out loud...I make no claims regarding accuracy...just thinking out loud...
kathleen barker July 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Collect....period.
Sean Tully July 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Buck, me too. I am not so opposed to people being allowed to carry guns. I am not there competely yet, but I am moving that way.
Buck Harmon July 19, 2012 at 11:59 PM
There are no periods with these decisions....

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