Document Type


Publication Date

January 2009


DNA, DNA sample, Fourth Amendment, Criminal law, criminal procedure, constitution, reasonableness, warrant, warrantless, search, arrestee, Arkansas, Juli's law


No Arkansas appellate court has examined the constitutionality of the recently enacted House Bill 1473 – better known as “Juli’s Law” – which allows officers to take DNA samples from suspects arrested for capital murder, murder in the first degree, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, and sexual assault in the second degree. This Essay contends that Juli’s Law violates the Fourth Amendment of the federal constitution. Part I highlights certain features of the statute and explores the rationale underlying its enactment. Part II discusses the only published decision upholding the practice of taking of DNA samples from certain felony arrestees and the rationale for allowing the practice. Part III assesses the possible analytical approaches to evaluating the constitutionality of Juli’s law and concludes that any approach yields the same result: taking DNA swabs from felony arrestees prior to any conviction is unconstitutional.

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Criminal Law Commons