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Attorney General Issues Statement Regarding DNA Ruling by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued this statement regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's order today in U.S. v. Kincade:

"The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled a federal policy of collecting DNA samples from federal parolees does not violate the 4th Amendment. In reaching its decision, the majority correctly found the traditional test of weighing an individual's expectation of privacy with the government's interest is the appropriate balancing standard to determine whether a policy or statute is constitutional.

"The decision conforms with decades of case law at the federal and state level that consistently has rejected constitutional challenges to DNA data bank laws and legislation.

"Today, California's DNA data bank contains profiles of 245,000 convicted felons and accounts for more than 14 percent of the total number of searchable offender profiles in the National DNA Index System. These data banks are crucial to match convicted felons to crime scene evidence and solve cases that were before deemed unsolvable.

"Had the Ninth Circuit ruled contrary to other federal and state courts, the successful California program, as well as those in Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, could have been subject to unnecessary constitutional questions and challenges.

"In California, we are proud of our DNA program, which has gone from obtaining one hit a year to more than one hit a day. The Ninth Circuit's decision further validates the use of this important, high-tech tool to solve crimes and protect public safety."

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