The ACLU of Maryland joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief in the case of King v. State of Maryland, concerning the constitutionality of Maryland's expanded DNA collection law mandating DNA to be collected without a warrant upon arrest, as opposed to on conviction, for certain crimes. The ACLU believes that the warrantless collection of DNA -- the repository of our most intimate genetic information -- infringes upon the privacy rights as well as Fourth Amendment rights of arrestees. The ACLU is also concerned that the resulting DNA databank will disproportionately contain the private genetic information of minorities and the poor. We believe that DNA is not the same as a fingerprint, because it reveals far more information about the person, and that it should not be collected without a warrant.

On April 24, 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that Maryland's mandatory collection of DNA upon arrest was unconstitutional. On November 9, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from the Maryland Court of Appeals decision. 

Amicus Brief by Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland 

Learn more about the ACLU of Northern California's lawsuit, Haskell v. Harris, which seeks to stop California's policy of mandating that DNA is collected from anyone arrested for a felony, whether or not they are ever charged or convicted. 


David Rocah, staff attorney, ACLU of Maryland

Date filed

November 27, 2012