Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 3, 2013

Testing, a brave, new world

-- — In a landmark decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can take DNA samples from those under arrest, but not convicted of a crime. The Court stated that DNA is the modern-day equivalent of fingerprinting and taking mug shots, and is not a violation of personal privacy.

The 5-4 decision allows law enforcement agencies to swab the inside cheek of a suspect to obtain a DNA sample. The sample will ostensibly be used to compare to databases of other crimes as well as to begin the process of building a database for DNA, similar to the national fingerprint or mug shot databases.

More than half of all states already take DNA samples from those they arrest, and testing now takes around 2 to 3 weeks, but instant DNA testing is under development. The Court’s ruling now makes it legal for any law enforcement agency to collect DNA samples, although many states have restricted the practice to certain violent crimes.

Given the state of the state’s crime labs, however, and understanding that Georgia is not alone in the minimal resources allocated to crime labs, is this a helpful tool or just another burden placed on local law enforcement? The state’s crime lab is the only one capable of running DNA tests at this time, and as we’ve seen with the recent Kendrick Johnson case, held up the autopsy results for months. If every single person arrested is swabbed and requires a DNA test, how much worse is that backlog going to become?

In theory, this may seem innocuous and innocent. It’s only to help police solve crimes, right? But DNA contains far more information about an individual than simply their identity, which is all a mugshot or fingerprint can convey. A DNA sample can reveal not just who you are, but your entire genetic makeup, potential or existence of disease, your ancestry, your progeny, and much more.

The U.S. Supreme Court stated Monday that DNA testing is not a violation of personal privacy for a suspected criminal. But how much more personal does it get than the government having access to your genetic code?

Text Only
What We Think
  • Missing persons: Fill in the blanks

    Missing persons cases are tough. They are tough because they are vague.

    April 20, 2014

  • He is Risen

    Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they and certain other women with them came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.

    April 19, 2014

  • Thumbs up

    THUMBS UP: To Carol Mikkelsen. Valdosta State University Opera’s “Dido and Aeneas” marks the last production before Mikkelsen’s retirement
    after 44 years with Valdosta State and the creation of the opera program. She plans to continue
    working with VSU part-time, but this weekend’s performance marks her last full-time participation with the opera productions. Ovations all around for her work.

    April 18, 2014

  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results