Virginia’s DNA testing law could be overturned

Posted at 6:01 PM, May 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-04 18:16:50-04

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - A Virginia law, that allows police to collect your DNA if you are arrested for a violent crime, could be overturned.

A Court of Appeals in Maryland has just declared a similar law unconstitutional because judges say it violates a person's 4th amendment rights. Maryland's Attorney General is vowing to take the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. If that happens, it could also affect the law here in Virginia.

At least one Virginia Sheriff says he's worried about what that could mean.

Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding says the law helps save lives by helping identify some criminals sooner.

"If you haven't done anything wrong, why do you care? I'm against Big Brother intrusion, but I think in this case the benefit outweighs any concerns," says Sheriff Harding.

But John Whitehead with The Rutherford Institute feels differently.

"If you're arrested, you're presumed innocent until you're proven guilty. That means you have the right to privacy," insists Whitehead.

The latest numbers from Virginia's Department of Forensic Science show there are more than 347,000 DNA samples in the State's database of people arrested.

Since 1993, that's resulted in more than 7,800 hits, connecting people to other crimes.