County Police Resume Collecting DNA Samples
Collection resumed at 6 p.m., just one day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stayed a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling.
UPDATED (6:45 p.m.)—Baltimore County police have resumed collection of DNA samples from people arrested on felony charges.
County Police Chief Jim Johnson announced the decision late Thursday afternoon.
Johnson, in a statement, ordered the resumption of DNA collections beginning at 6 p.m.
The decision to once again collect the samples comes one day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issues a stay on a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling banning the practice.
County officials initially said Wednesday, following Roberts' order, that police would likely wait to resume collecting the samples until after opponents had an opportunity to file a response with Roberts.
State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said he changed his mind after he and Johnson spoke with Maryland State Police officials and were given assurances that they were able to resume accepting the samples and "their meticulous record keeping would allow us to identify the samples should the stay later be lifted."
Shellenberger said he is no longer concerned that county police will experience difficulties resulting from ceasing DNA collection after restarting today.
"Chief Johnson assured me his department can easily flip the switch and turn this off if needed," Shellenberger said.
County police stopped collecting DNA samples from persons arrested on felony charges in April after the state's highest court ruled 5-2 that the practice was unconstitutional.
The ruling was in response to an appeal filed by Alonzo King who was arrested in 2009. Wicomico County collected King's DNA at the time of his arrest and later charged him in a 2003 rape, for which he was ultimately convicted.
Lawyers for King argued that the DNA swab violated their client's Fourth Amendment rights.
Roberts has given King's attorneys until July 25 to respond.