Under an Ohio Supreme Court ruling this month, prosecutors can keep DNA on file to use as evidence for future cases, even if there was an acquittal on the charges for which the DNA was taken. When you hear about DNA evidence in the criminal justice system it typically involves those wrongfully accused being exonerated with all the new technology. But, it has also been used to convict a criminal, sometimes controversially. As long as the DNA is obtained legally as part of an investigation it may be used down the road, said the court’s unanimous opinion.
A man was acquitted in a 2005 rape case. During that investigation, authorities took a sample of his DNA. He was acquitted but the sample was kept in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.
In 2007 the sample was found to match blood on a door handle at the scene of the murder of a Cleveland woman. The suspect was found guilty, based in part on that evidence, and is serving a life sentence for the murder. He argued that the state violated his constitutional rights to privacy and due process by using his DNA from an earlier investigation. It was believed that his DNA should only have been used it in the rape investigation. Justices rejected that argument, noting that the warrant was obtained legitimately and he had never challenged its validity. They found that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in DNA extracted lawfully.
Several other states have examined the issue and come to a similar conclusion. Ohio joins them in making it more difficult to defend against criminal charges, especially for those who have been accused of previous crimes.
If you live in Ohio and are being accused of a crime or facing charges, I urge you to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, particularly if you have been charged before. I can help you protect your rights as you navigate the justice system and work towards the best possible outcome in your case. Save my number in your phone: 513-260-2099