So much for the Chief’s quiet summer

July 30th, 2012

SCOTUSBlog reports that Chief Justice Roberts, in his capacity as Circuit Justice for the Fourth Circuit, stayed a Maryland Court of Appeals opinion which had held that the collection of DNA of a person charged with–but not convicted of–a crime violated the Fourth Amendment. Most important to the Chief’s opinion was the fact that many states already have this practice in place, and the federal FBI database relies on these states participating. From the order:

Here there is, in addition, an ongoing and concrete harm to Maryland’s law enforcement and public safety interests. According to Maryland, from 2009—the year Maryland began collecting samples from arrestees—to 2011, “matches from arrestee swabs [from Maryland] have resulted in 58 criminal prosecutions.” Application 16. Collecting DNA from individuals arrested for violent felonies provides a valuable tool for investigating unsolved crimes and thereby helping to remove violent offenders from the general population. Crimes for which DNA evidence is implicated tend to be serious, and serious crimes cause serious injuries. That Maryland may not employ a dulyenacted statute to help prevent these injuries constitutes irreparable harm.

So much for just chilling out on the impregnable island fortress of Malta, or as I called it, the Island of Misfit Conservatives.