As state forensic scientists savor their success in using DNA to nab the alleged Grim Sleeper, a federal court is considering shutting down a DNA collection program the state says has helped solve several violent crimes.
During a court hearing last week, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals showed extraordinary interest in an ACLU lawsuit challenging the state's collection of DNA from people arrested, but not necessarily convicted, in felony cases. One judge said the court was struggling.
Nearly half the states and the federal government now take DNA samples during arrests. Rulings nationwide on the constitutionality of the practice have been divided, and the issue is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.