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      Supreme Court Looks at Constitutionality of DNA Collection

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      KansasAttorney General Derek Schmidt announced Thursday that he has joined others in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm astate's authority to collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for violentcrimes.

      The argument is over whether or not it is constitutional for authorities to collect DNA samples from people arrested for violent crimes who have not yet been convicted.

      Some are arguing that DNA collection laws serve an important public safety function and are constitutional. If fact attorney generals in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision from a lower court in Maryland v. King.

      Kansasis one of 28 states that, by state law, collect DNA samples from certainviolent crime suspects at the time of arrest for use in a forensicidentification database.

      "TheDNA database is a valuable tool to help protect our communities against repeatoffenders," Schmidt said. "Kansans have determined that collecting DNA at thetime of arrest will help solve violent crimes more quickly, and we are stronglydefending the authority of our state to make that decision."

      Thestates said an adverse Supreme Court decision also would jeopardize theconstitutionality of fingerprinting and collection of other identifyinginformation about criminal defendants at the time of arrest, practices thathave been in place for decades.

      Thehigh court will hear arguments in this case next month.

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