Federal court ponders legality of police DNA collection

Federal appeals court judges aimed tough questions Wednesday at a state lawyer defending California’s voter-approved requirement that police take DNA samples of anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony.

The law, which was passed in 2004 and took effect in 2009, requires officers to swab an inner cheek of all felony arrestees for DNA and enter the information in a national database. It expanded a state law that required DNA samples only after a felony conviction.

Attorney General Kamala Harris‘ office says the law has been a valuable crime-solving weapon and contains safeguards against abuses, including criminal penalties for misuse of the genetic data.

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