“Fingerprints for the 21st Century”

A divided federal appeals court ruled that the government’s use of fingerprints is no longer enough and they may now collect DNA for inclusion in national databases from anyone who is arrested.

With an 8-6 vote, the lower courts decision that struck down the DNA Act of 2005, was reversed by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The six dissenters, led by U.S. Circuit Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, complained that “collecting and analyzing DNA is much more intrusive than either fingerprinting or photographing.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Marjorie O. Rendell said the laws, “permit the government to intrude into their bodies and extract the highly sensitive information coded in their genes.”


U.S. Circuit Judge Julio M. Fuentes found that DNA is superior to fingerprints and photographs stating, “The government’s ability to accurately identify a person through their DNA profile cannot be entirely substituted by other means of identification, such as fingerprints or photographs. DNA analysis enables the government to identify a person who has changed their appearance, either permanently or temporarily.”

The 8 for the passing:
Judge Julio M. Fuentes, Judge Dolores K. Sloviter, Judge Michael A. Chagares, Judge Kent A. Jordan, Judge Thomas M. Hardiman, Judge Anthony J. Scirica, Judge D. Brooks Smith, and Judge D. Michael Fisher.
The 6 voting against:
Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, Judge Theodore A. McKee, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, Judge Thomas L. Ambro, Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. and Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie.

You may obtain a copy of the 95-page opinion in United States v. Mitchell , PICS No. 11-3751, The Legal Intelligencer. You can call Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 800-276-PICS for more information.

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