Lesley A. Hall


This Note discusses the resolution of that constitutional battle, Maryland v. King, where the U.S. Supreme Court held that DNA testing of pre-trial arrestees was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment as a routine booking procedure. The Court also held that DNA testing’s use for arrestee identification permitted its use as a tool to investigate suspicionless crimes. Part II analyzes the facts and holding of Maryland v. King. Part III discusses Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including court-established tests used to ascertain whether a particular search is reasonable. Part IV examines the United States Supreme Court’s rationale in King, including Justice Scalia’s dissent, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Lastly, Part V analyzes why the majority erred in determining that suspicionless DNA tests were reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, how the holding further blurs Fourth Amendment exceptions, and how the holding diminishes the Fourth Amendment’s power to protect an arrestee’s expectation of privacy. This Note ends by discussing certain issues on which the Court remained silent in its opinion, issues that could prove dispositive in future cases.

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