There’s no denying the DNA databank | SierraSun.com
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There’s no denying the DNA databank

Jim Porter
Lighter Side of the Law

California’s requirement that prisoners submit DNA specimens has solved lots of crimes. Recently that law was challenged by an upstanding young man, “wrongly accused of a crime” (again), named Christopher McCray.

Christopher McCray was convicted of selling or transporting cocaine ” again. He admitted to one violent felony conviction under the Three Strikes Law, as well as serving five prior prison terms. Five. He also admitted to four prior convictions under the Health and Safety Code. He spent nine years in state prison. Not a bad guy, just a run of bad luck.

Spending a good part of his life in prison didn’t keep McCray from challenging the California law that requires he provide DNA specimens. Specifically he challenged “the international dissemination of California’s DNA database,” fearing that would somehow “permit a foreign entity to manipulate his genetic profile so as to frame him as a notorious international terrorist.”

Wow, what’s this guy been smoking? I guess we know.

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In 2004, Californians passed Proposition 69, which enhanced the DNA Forensic Identification Database and Databank Act of 1998, the DNA Act. That act requires any person convicted of a felony and any person who is imprisoned, confined or placed in a state correctional facility to submit a DNA sample.

Fourth Amendment challenges were made to the DNA Act ” arguing the act was a violation of privacy. The courts previously ruled that prisoners “forfeit any legitimate expectation of privacy in their identities, and must submit saliva or blood samples given the minor intrusion involved.” DNA samples may be obtained.

McCray lost his argument in a California Court of Appeal for several reasons. He failed to raise his international database argument at his trial (strike one), he failed to sue the California Department of Justice who handles DNA samples (strike two), and his paranoid notion that his DNA was so important that he might be framed as a notorious international terrorist was bogus (strike three). His lawyer is no smarter than he is.

Christopher McCray is spending time exactly where he belongs.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter – Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firm’s Web site, http://www.portersimon.com.


 

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