KHQ.COM - The Supreme Court settled a years long debate in Maryland ruling that police can take DNA samples during arrests. The move could eventually make DNA swabbing as common as fingerprinting. In a five to four decision, justices in the high court ruled that police can take the sample by swabbing the inside of the cheek when they make an arrest in a serious or violent crime, like murder or rape. The decision upholds a Maryland law that could open the door to more widespread DNA collection by officers.
DNA samples collected at the scene are checked against a national database of unsolved crimes. The accuracy of DNA testing has proven to be a determining factor in successfully identifying suspects. Justices say the DNA swab can also help confirm the identity of the arrestee and discover whether the suspect has a violent past. Until this week's decision, law enforcement could only swab for DNA if they had a warrant or if the person under arrest had a felony conviction.