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For Immediate Release
July 14, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

COURT OF APPEALS AGREES WITH CURRAN, DNA COLLECTION ACT IS CONSTITUTIONAL

The Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, announced late last night that Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran’s appeal involving DNA collection from Maryland felons has been decided, and that Maryland’s DNA Collection Act is constitutional. The case, State of Maryland versus Charles Raines, is remanded to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County for trial.

On June 7, 2004, Attorney General Curran argued before the Court of Appeals the following: Charles Raines, a convicted felon, provided a saliva sample in 1999, which was entered into the Maryland DNA databank. In 2002, it was determined that Raines’ sampled matched DNA from an unsolved rape that occurred in Montgomery County in 1996, establishing that Raines was the rapist. Attorney General Curran argued that the Fourth Amendment was not violated when Raines’ cheek was swabbed and his DNA was collected. As with a fingerprint, the State merely obtained a positive means of identification in the event independent evidence of another crime came to light, as it did here. The seizure of Raines’ DNA was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances: a minimal intrusion was involved; his expectation of privacy as a convicted felon was low; and the state had a compelling governmental interest in seeking to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

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