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California's DNA Collection Law In Key Legal Test

Publication Date: 
December 06, 2013
Source: 
San Jose Mercury News
Author: 
Howard Mintz

Professor Hank Greely weighs in on the possibility of a law allowing DNA collection of California felons being struck down in The San Jose Mercury News. 

Armed with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a federal appeals court on Monday will revisit a controversial legal challenge to California's law allowing collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony.

Whether the Supreme Court's ruling on Maryland's similar -- though narrower -- DNA collection law shoots down an ongoing legal attack on California's four-year-old statute will be the question before a special 11-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel.

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"The fact they decided to reargue it is a good sign for (groups challenging the law)," said Hank Greely, a Stanford University law professor. "But I still think it's an uphill climb for the plaintiffs."

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"The question is are there enough distinctions to make a difference," Greely said. "If I had to bet, I'd say the U.S. Supreme Court would say there aren't."