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DNA, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyUnder the current law in Connecticut, anyone who is convicted of a felony is required to provide a sample of his or her DNA to be cataloged in the state’s DNA database. In 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court even ruled that prison and law enforcement officials were permitted to use reasonable force to obtain the DNA sample when a convict refuses to cooperate.

While there has been debate over whether the collection of such samples constitutes a violation of privacy, the law and the Supreme Court ruling only apply to individuals who have already been convicted of a serious crime. Meanwhile, reports indicate that law enforcement officials in Connecticut are asking young men and women—including juveniles—to give DNA samples without their parents’ consent or knowledge.

A Cause for Worry

Earlier this month, lawmakers in California passed legislation that makes it illegal for police officers to obtain DNA from a minor without either permission from the minor’s parent or guardian or a court order. The law was widely regarded as a response to allegations of the police in San Diego targeting young African-Americans for DNA collection. Advocates are pushing for similar laws in other states as well.

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DNA collection, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyWhen properly collected and analyzed, DNA evidence is among the most clear-cut and convincing forensics in any criminal proceeding. Countless cases in the last several decades have been greatly impacted by the biological technology, including those of a large number of previously-convicted defendants who were later exonerated by DNA analysis.

Unsurprisingly, the success of such efforts has led all 50 states and the federal government to mandate the collection of DNA samples from at least some categories of convicted offenders, so as to assist in future investigations. Here in Connecticut, however, the state’s authority to use force in collecting DNA was recently brought before the state Supreme Court, promulgated by the appeals of two convicted felons who refused to submit to DNA collection.

Reasonable Force

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