Fingerprinting

by Sal on March 22, 2006

in Politics

Kansas will soon be taking fingerprints of people that are pulled over. These prints will not be stored, but will be run against a database instantly of fingerprints to see if the driver is “In the System”.

I posted earlier today on Civil Liberties vs. Legitimate criminal investigations and terrorism. This strikes me as very “Big Brother”. Typically, if I am not mistaken (as a non-lawyer), probably cause and a warrant are required to take fingerprints, DNA, or any other type of “personal invasion”. The government should pursue criminals with diligence, but not while undermining the liberties of the rest of us.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 22, 2006 at 5:27 pm

The standard was lessened under the Terry case for certain searches. (exact caption forgotten). Under Terry, a “reasonable suspicion” is required to stop someone for a minimal intrusion limited in scope (like a patdown for a weapon).

I’m of the school that there is no warrant requirment in the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment simply requires searches to be reasonable. The text of the 4th Amendment limits the issuance of warrants but I digress.

Under either standard, this proposal should be struck down. No warrant. No reasonableness. Activists and originalists unite. However, in deference to Justice Ginsburg, perhaps the laws of Sierra Leone could provide me with some insight I don’t have at the moment.

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Matt March 23, 2006 at 7:55 am

I’m not sure about the legalities of this, and I believe it should be struck down if current law doesn’t allow for it… However, this wouldn’t bother me too much if it is legal. The officer clearly has the right to ask for a driver’s license, and this information is run against the police database to see if there are any outstanding violations or warrants. In my mind, it isn’t a violation of my privacy if the police make sure that I am who my driver’s license says I am.

It seems to me that the only people who would be caught by this would be those who have false identities and/or fake driver’s licenses.

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Sal March 24, 2006 at 10:41 am

True, but is it reasonable to take someone’s fingerprints if in fact they are stopped for a simple speeding ticket? I agree with Mike. Warrants are not required under the Constitution (altough under the Constitution, Mike, what is the purpose of a Warrant?). But I think that we have to be careful. The Constitution was against creating a police state. They did not want ordinary Amercian’s stopped on a day-to-day basis for no reason, only if there were a reasonable reason to believe that a crime had been committed.

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