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New York Can Resume Family DNA Searches for Crime Suspects, Court Rules

25 Oct 2023 8:31 AM | Anonymous

From an Associated Press article:

New York's highest court on Tuesday ruled police can resume a DNA searching method that can identify relatives of potential suspects, a technique that has helped solve crimes but caused privacy concerns.

The method, known as familial DNA searches, allows law enforcement agencies to search information in their DNA databases to find blood relatives of people who have left genetic material at a crime scene.

The order from the New York Court of Appeals allows the state to use such searches in criminal cases, reversing a lower court ruling from last year that blocked the practice.

The case was brought by two men whose brothers were convicted of crimes and had genetic information in the state’s databanks. They alleged that searches could improperly target them because of their family members' crimes and that the technique was never approved by the state Legislature.

Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson, writing for the majority, said that the state's rulemaking process for the searches was legal and that regulations intended to protect privacy have resulted in very few search results provided to law enforcement.

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