Precinct 333

Friday, January 07, 2005

Would You Give?

Three years ago, fashion writer Christa Worthington was murdered in the town of Truro, Massachusetts. No arrests have been made, despite the recovery of a male DNA sample. Now police are asking all male residents of the town to voluntarily give a DNA sample to be tested.

"We are turning to the Truro community and asking that they look inward and begin to consider the possibilities that exist within their community who may have interacted with Worthington," State Police Trooper Christopher Mason said. "From an investigators standpoint, it is efficient and effective."

District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said that officials will look more closely at those who do not cooperate.

"I would say to any member of the public that they should have no (qualms) about cooperating with the police. By law, that DNA sample can't go anywhere," O'Keefe said.

Am I the only one who finds the district attorney’s statement a bit chilling? The police have no probable cause to get a court order for the samples. Instead they say "Give us your DNA or become a suspect in a murder investigation." What assurance is there that the DNA sample will be used only in this case? Will the “volunteers” become a part of a larger police DNA database, available for use in any case? And will the refusing to cooperate be presented to a court as probable cause for compelling someone to give a sample?

I think I would opt out of this program – and tell the cops to pound sand when they came to question me. Exercising one’s right to privacy is not a legitimate basis for being made the subject of a criminal investigation.


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