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Name: Hamilton v. Brown
Case #: 09-15236
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/04/2011

The forced collection of a blood sample from a prison inmate for DNA identification does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Prison officials demanded appellant provide a blood sample for DNA analysis and he refused. As a result, they forcibly extracted a blood sample from him. Appellant filed a lawsuit alleging the forcible extraction of his DNA obtained pursuant to California’s DNA and Forensic Identification Database and Data Bank Act violated his constitutional rights. The Ninth Circuit considered the application of the act to convicted felons. (As amended, it also applies to persons arrested for a felony, but that scenario was not considered and is pending in another case.) The court noted that in U.S. v. Kincade (9th Cir. 2004) 379 F.3d 813, it had upheld the application of the federal DNA act to a person on supervised release by weighing the degree of intrusion on the individual against the government interest in obtaining the DNA sample. A person in appellant’s position has even less of an expectation of privacy than Kincade did given he is currently incarcerated. The privacy intrusion is just as minimal as in Kincade because, as with the federal act, the testing under the California act is limited to the collection of identifying information. Finally, while the government interest might not be as great as that in Kincade, the state’s interest in adding convicted felons to its DNA data bank is still compelling. Therefore, the act does not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of convicted felons, such as appellant.