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Abstract

This Comment examines the constitutionality of North Carolina’s DNA Database Act of 2010. The Act is a newly passed expansion of the existing state DNA database, and this Comment argues that North Carolina’s expansion authorizes a constitutionally impermissible, mandatory, suspicionless, and warrantless search and seizure of DNA and the information contained therein. With warrantless searches, the default rule is that they are “per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment— subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.” The Act should not survive Fourth Amendment scrutiny because it does not qualify as a well-delineated exception to the warrant requirement: it is not a search incident to a lawful arrest, it authorizes a search without probable cause or exigent circumstances, it is unjustifiable as a special needs search, and it does not survive basic balancing test scrutiny. Those directly impacted by the Act are arrestees for particular crimes. Although not convicted of the crime, their bodies are invaded, their DNA seized, and their personal, genetic information is given to the state and federal government for further search and analysis.

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