The California Aftermaths of Maryland v. King, Revisited

In June, after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Maryland v. King on the constitutionality of mandatory collection of DNA from arrestees, I posted a long entry on how that case might, in ways more complicated that immediately obvious, play out in ongoing litigation about California’s statute.  Sequels.  Then I made a small post when the Ninth Circuit ordered supplemental briefing of its en banc case on this topic, Haskell v. HarrisAftermath Begins.  And one more on a particularly odd California trial court case affected by the decision.  Farce

Today, two weeks after receiving the last of the supplemental briefs,  the Ninth Circuit ordered a re-argument of the Haskell case before the en banc court on December 9.  Reargument.

This should be interesting!

By the way, on July 10, 2013, the California Supreme Court sent the state court case, People v. Buza, back to the intermediate appellate court for reconsideration in light of Maryland v. King:  “The above-entitled matter is transferred to the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Two, with directions to vacate its decision and to reconsider the cause in light of Maryland v. King (2013) __ U.S. __ [133 S.Ct. 1958, 186 L.Ed.2d 1]”

Hank Greely

3 Responses to The California Aftermaths of Maryland v. King, Revisited
  1. Interesting. A visit to the local SBI revealed that they are keeping all of the arrestee samples separately from convicted felons. Prescient, perhaps?


  2. I think the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Maryland v. King cannot be taken as reference for People v. Buza, since the law applied in the first case is much different from the California’s.

    As a matter of law, in Maryland v. King the law applies to people arrested and actually charged with a very small number of extremely serious crimes (viz. murder, rape), allowing the police to use DNA samples only after a judge says that they can.

    By contrast, California’s law applies to people arrested for ALL kind of crimes, allowing the police to collect and use a sample with no judicial or even prosecutorial oversight.

    In my opinion, however, another issue should be handled.
    As a matter of fact, under the California Law the arrestee, who are not ultimately convicted, cannot ask immediately to the the California Department of Justice or to the trial court, the destruction of their DNA profile.
    The innocent individual, in fact, must await the expiration of the statute of limitations for the crime(s) for which he or she was charged before requesting expungement.
    This is a paradox!


  3. Nita, how does North Carolina’s law handle the three possible distinctions between Maryland v. King and the California statute – serious crime (per the S Ct) v. all felonies; analysis only after judicial determination of probable cause v. after arrest; and automatic expungement v. requiring application for expungement?

    Vincenzo, I agree that those are two possible ways to distinguish the Maryland law from the California law, along with Maryland’s requirement that the samples not be analyzed until after a judicial officer has found probable cause. (That’s what my June post that this was updating was about).

    I would note, though, that the Maryland statute applied to assaults, burglaries, attempted assaults, and attempted burglaries. Some of those may be “serious;” some may not be. The California law deals with all felonies, generally viewed as pretty serious crimes. The idea that Maryland’s law deals only with “serious” crimes comes from Justice Kennedy’s repeated invocation of “serious crimes” in the Court’s opinion. Hard to know that meant to him, or what it will mean to future courts.


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