The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision this week in Maryland v. King, allowing law enforcement officers around the country to take a cheek swab after an arrest for a serious crime. Cheek cells contain a person's DNA, which can then be used to determine whether an arrested person can be tied to open, unsolved crimes through CODIS. And, that DNA information can possibly be stored forever.
In 2006, Johnny Williams was sentenced to 16 years in prison after being convicted of sex offenses involving a minor, including lewd conduct and attempted rape. Williams was released from prison and paroled in January, 2013. Just days ago, his sex offense convictions were set aside and the case against him dismissed.
We blogged earlier this week about the U.S. Supreme Court potentially weighing in next session on whether law enforcement can collect DNA samples from people who are arrested and accused of a crime before he or she is actually convicted. North Carolina law currently allows law enforcement to do just that - take a DNA sample once you're arrested.
Alonzo King was arrested for assault in 2009. Under Maryland's DNA Collection Act, law enforcement took a DNA sample from him without a warrant. The Act allows police to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for (not convicted of) certain felony charges, including burglary, attempted burglary, a violent crime or an attempt at a violent crime.
Just over a year ago, North Carolina began requiring a DNA sample from anyone charged with a higher-level felony offense including, among others, murder, manslaughter, rape, other sex offenses, kidnapping, most felony assaults, stalking and cyberstalking.
A cold case unit from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department recently arrested a man for a kidnapping and rape that allegedly took place 20 years ago. The suspect, Juan Taylor, now 45, has an existing criminal record. He was convicted of second degree murder for the death of an 82-year-old man that occurred six years before the alleged sexual assault.