US Supreme Court To Consider Landmark Case On Use Of DNA Databases In Protecting Public Safety

Nov 09, 2012, 16:57 ET from DNASaves

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by DNASaves:

The United States Supreme Court today granted certiorari in Maryland v. King, (Docket No. 12-207, cert. granted 11/13/12).  In the case, Maryland law enforcement stands to lose the right to require a DNA collection as part of booking procedures for certain felony crimes.  A similar law was passed by Congress in 2004 for federal arrests, and 24 other state legislatures have also passed such laws, many of which have been named "Katie's Law" in honor of murder victim Katie Sepich.  A negative ruling from the court would be devastating to victims of crime, and to the criminal justice professionals responsible for protecting public safety.

"This case brings the need for such laws clearly into focus," said Jayann Sepich, mother of Katie Sepich.  The defendant in the case, Alonso King, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, and his DNA sample was collected.  The DNA profile collected for his arrest was matched to an unsolved home invasion rape, and he was sentenced to life without parole.  However, without a positive ruling from the US Supreme Court, this convicted rapist now stands to walk free – as do hundreds of other criminals who have been similarly identified throughout the United States in recent years (32 in Maryland alone).

"Failure to uphold this law will be devastating to victims and public safety," said Sepich.  "We have a chance to use the best forensic science available to identify criminals and exonerate the truly innocent.  I hope the Supreme Court will agree that criminals arrested for serious crimes cannot continue to hide their true identity while in police custody."

Mrs. Sepich believes the decision will be one of the most important US Supreme Court rulings to impact public safety in decades.  "What other law before the court so directly impacts law enforcement's ability to solve and prevent crime?  A ruling to uphold this law will mean that murderers are taken off the streets, that rapists aren't free victimize more citizens, that criminals like -- Mr. King -- can be identified and removed from society, giving his victim the healing that only justice can provide."

For more about Katie's Law and arrestee DNA testing, please see