House Democrats have unveiled a series of legislative proposals aimed at protecting children and families. Topping the list is one to expand Missouri’s DNA database to include people charged, but not yet convicted, of felonies. A second component of that proposal would allow for DNA to be collected from juveniles who commit crimes that would be considered felonies if adjudicated in the adult criminal justice system. Representative John Burnett of Kansas City, the sponsor, insists this would hold up under any and all constitutional challenges. Burnett points to a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling – Schmerber v. California – in which the High Court upheld the constitutionality of a blood test involuntarily administered to a man who had been drinking and driving. The Court rejected arguments the test violated the man’s Fifth Amendment right against providing self-incriminating evidence as well as his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Burnett says seven states currently collect DNA from felony arrestees, while thirty-five states collect DNA from juvenile offenders.
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Schmerber v. California (1966)