Academic highlight: David Kaye on the Fourth Amendment and DNA sampling
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm
On February 26, the Court will hear argument in Maryland v. King. At issue is whether the Fourth Amendment bars Maryland from gathering DNA samples from individuals arrested for, but not convicted of, certain felonies. Penn State law professor David Kaye has devoted much of his career to examining just this question. In 2000, Kaye authored a report for the Department of Justice’s National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence examining the constitutionality of taking DNA samples from arrestees. He has subsequently written dozens of articles and essays on that topic, including a recent essay for Discourse, UCLA Law Review’s on-line forum, in which he analyzes (and criticizes) the lower court precedent leading up to the cert. grant in King. Kaye’s book, The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence (Harvard Univ. Press 2010) addresses the subject, and his blog closely tracks the legal developments in the case. Interestingly, he is the main author of an amicus brief, submitted on behalf of ten scientists, that supports neither party but rather seeks “to inform the Court of the possible medical and social significance of the DNA stored in law enforcement databases.” Kaye doesn’t have any easy answers to the hard questions raised by King, which is perhaps why neither party cites his work, but he provides a clear explanation of the science behind DNA sampling and a thoughtful analysis of the privacy and policing interests at stake.