Vermont Court: No DNA Collection Until Conviction

Jul 11, 2014

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The Vermont Supreme Court says the state can't collect DNA from suspects in criminal cases unless they've been convicted of a felony.

In a 3-2 decision issued Friday, the court ruled a state law that allowed for the collection of DNA from people charged with felonies after a court ruled there was probable cause violated the Vermont constitution.

Three years ago, Vermont's DNA database law was expanded to include people charged with felonies. Five Vermont trial courts ruled the law unconstitutional.

The decision says DNA collection at arraignment violates a defendant's right to privacy.

The dissent says the decision restricts the state's ability to enforce the law.

Defense attorney David Sleigh says a person's "entire genome" doesn't become the property of the state when they've been charged with a crime.

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