DNA testing has been the center of attention in many criminal justice cases. The United States corrections centers have utilized the DNA testing process. Seventeen death row inmates have been exonerated by the use of these tests. Earl Washington was convicted of rape and murder in 1984. Although he confessed to the rape, he was also diagnosed as being mentally retarded. In October of 2000 Mr., Washington was given a DNA test and was excluded as the rapist and murderer. The Virginia Governor pardoned Mr. Washington after he had served 16 years in prison with 14 of them being on death row (ACLU, 2011). DNA testing has become the rule rather than the exception; but what happens with the DNA after a person has been acquitted, dismissed, or exonerated. Where does DNA go to die or does it? Is the DNA destroyed, or is it retained in miscellaneous databanks for further retrieval and use? In 2010, the United States Congress began a campaign designed to encourage the states to require DNA to be taken from suspects whether they had been charged with a crime or not. In the case of S. and Marper v the United Kingdom found that the retention of the applicants' fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles was in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Is creating a policy in the United States that demand DNA from suspects helps in finding subsequent criminals or is it just leading to a track and trace policy?
The Collection and Retention of DNA
The collection of DNA in an investigation is used most often to determine who the perpetrator(s) might be in a crime. There has been a rapid growth since its inception and legal and ethical issues have arisen. In the Double –Helix Double-Edged Sword Report, the United Kingdom states that the United States should “curb its collection and retention of DNA samples” based on the mere fact that we ascribe to a presumption of innocence within the structure of our laws. (Candidate, 2011)
Case of S. and Marper v UK (2008)
In the case of Marper v the United Kingdom in 2001, Mr. S. was arrested at the age of eleven. He was charged with attempted robbery. The police department took DNA samples of Mr. S. He was later acquitted of the charges. Mr. Marper was arrested in March of 2001and was arrested and charged with harassing his partner. The police department also took his DNA. Mr. Marper later reconciled with his partner so the charges were dropped. Both Mr. S and Mr. Marper asked the police to destroy the DNA samples; however, they refused to do so. They applied to the Administrative Court but they also refused to accept the application. Mr. S. and Mr. Marper proceeded to the Court of Appeals but they too upheld the Administrative Court’s decision. In 2004, the House of Lords also dismissed an appeal by the two applicants. It was not until the applicants put in their applications to the European Court of Human Rights that they were heard. Mr. S. and...