Brendan Heil


This Note argues that Ohio’s felony-arrestee DNA statute violates Article I, section 14 of the Ohio Constitution and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The initial physical swab and the subsequent database searches of an arrestee’s DNA sample, while the arrestee is in custody or being prosecuted, do not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, the inclusion of an innocent person’s DNA in Ohio’s DNA database, subject to repeated searches over time, violates both the Ohio and federal constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Broadly written DNA statutes trample people’s civil rights, and more carefully drawn legislation could meet the same law enforcement goals. The legislature should revise Ohio’s felony-arrestee statute, balancing law enforcement’s interest in solving crimes with the civil liberties of arrestees.