The Supreme Court decision Monday upholding the police practice of taking DNA samples from people arrested but not convicted of a crime drew mixed local reaction.
“This decision is a victory for victims, law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck, Jr. said.
The five justices in the majority ruled DNA sampling after an arrest when officers bring the suspect to the station to be detained does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches.
“If you don’t commit a crime, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said. “There have been people freed because of DNA samples. It works both ways.”
Dayton criminal attorney Jon Paul Rion said he wants Americans to realize the extent in which government looks into their lives and he says this is another example.
“We’ve seen this with computers, with Internet searches, emails and other social accounts that the government monitors and views,” Rion said. “If the court chooses not to intervene, perhaps the legislature should.”
Under Ohio law, since July 1, 2011, any person over age 18 arrested for a felony must submit to a DNA swabbing. The state has 70,172 samples collected. Of those 954 matched a forensic sample, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Montgomery County Chief Deputy Rob Streck said the sheriff’s office has not solved any violent crimes as a result, but he believes as the database grows it will be helpful.
Gary Daniels, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Ohio called the decision troubling.
“How long will it be before someone says we should take DNA for all Americans because it is helpful in so many ways?” He said.