Taking of DNA Samples Reasonable under Constitution – State v. O’Hagen

This morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the taking of DNA samples from people who have been convicted of crimes or who have been adjudicated as delinquent is valid under both the New Jersey and federal constitutions. The Court’s holding was set forth in two companion cases, State v. O’Hagen and A.A. v. Attorney General. In analyzing the issues, the Justices decided that the taking of a DNA sample from a convicted criminal defendant under the New Jersey DNA Database and Databank Act of 1994 (NJSA 53:1-20.17-20.28) constituted a “special needs” search which was reasonable under both the 4th Amendment as well as Article I, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution of 1947. The Justices also ruled that DNA evidence on file with law enforcement can be used to solve crimes that were committed before the DNA sample was submitted.

Download a copy of State v. O’Hagen.

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