CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2012 |
Law enforcement officers may take a DNA sample from anyone arrested on a felony charge without running afoul of the suspect's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, a divided federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The challenge brought by a group of Californians arrested for alleged felonies but never convicted upheld a 2004 amendment to the state's laws governing DNA collection and use. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals compared taking an oral swab from a suspect with fingerprinting arrestees, a decades-old booking practice consistently upheld by the courts as a legitimate identification aid. "We assess the constitutionality of the 2004 amendment by considering the 'totality of the circumstances,' balancing the arrestees' privacy interests against the government's need for the DNA samples," said the opinion written by Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. "DNA analysis is an extraordinarily effective tool for law enforcement officials to identify arrestees, solve past crimes, and exonerate innocent suspects," wrote Smith, who was named to the court by President George W. Bush, in an opinion joined by a visiting Tennessee judge appointed by President Reagan.
June 23, 2009 |
The new U.S. military commander in Afghanistan will limit the use of airstrikes in order to help cut down on civilian casualties, his chief spokesman said Monday. In a "tactical directive" to be issued in coming days, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has ordered new operational standards, including refraining from firing on structures where insurgents may have taken refuge among civilians unless Western or allied troops are in imminent danger, said spokesman Navy Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith.
January 27, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court has again undermined the only realistic protection against illegal searches and seizures: the ban on using tainted evidence at trial. The 5-4 decision in an Alabama case is doubly ominous for California, where misguided ballot initiatives have forbidden state courts from adopting stricter standards for the use of illegal evidence than federal courts require. The justices upheld drug and gun charges against Bennie D.
March 11, 2008 |
Mexican police searching for drug gangs seized a cache of automatic weapons and grenade launchers at a luxury apartment in the Caribbean resort of Cancun, near hotels full of foreign tourists. Tipped off by an informant, police found 22 guns, 14 grenades and about 500 rounds of ammunition at an exclusive beachside golf course development, a spokesman said. They also found police hats and car stickers with official police insignia.
February 26, 2008 |
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to rule on whether police officers are free to search a parked vehicle whenever they arrest a driver or a passenger. Prosecutors, including Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, asked the high court to set "a clear, bright-line rule" that permits officers to search a vehicle whenever an arrest is made, even if the handcuffed person has been taken away.
January 23, 2008 |
Local police were relieved of duty Tuesday in the border cities of Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and Reynosa as army troops disarmed the officers and searched for evidence that might link them to drug traffickers. In Nuevo Laredo, soldiers surrounded police headquarters at 8 a.m. and ordered officers to remain inside. Federal troops conducted a similar operation in Tijuana last January, at the beginning of an offensive against Mexico's drug cartels and their allies in the police.