Washington State law requires all convicted felons to submit a biological sample for purposes of DNA testing. Washington State courts have upheld this law as a permissible search under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Article I, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution, however, provides broader protections against governmental intrusion than does its federal counterpart. Under the state constitutional provision, law enforcement officials may disturb a citizen's private affairs only if authority of law supports the disturbance. A statute alone cannot provide the requisite authority; rather, the search prescribed must either be pursuant to a warrant or fall within one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement. This Comment argues that the DNA collection statute is unconstitutional because it does not contain a warrant requirement and the required collection does not fall within any of the exceptions to the warrant requirement. Although the statute applies only to convicted felons, who arguably have lesser privacy rights, the statute permits an unconstitutional infringement of these rights because the prescribed search is not predicated on a minimal level of suspicion.
Notes and Comments,
An Unwarranted Intrusion: The Constitutional Infirmities of Washington's DNA Collection Law,
80 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol80/iss2/5