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Gavel sitting next to two books

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Despite prior court rulings that police can collect DNA samples from people arrested but not convicted of crimes, a state court judge hinted Wednesday that holding onto that DNA data might violate the California Constitution.

“What about the person who is arrested mistakenly,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman asked in court Wednesday. “That person’s sample then remains in the system forever, right? Regardless of the fact that there’s no criminal conviction.”

Schulman was responding to a state lawyer’s argument that California’s need to identify criminals outweighs the privacy interests of those arrested but not convicted of felonies.

The lawsuit is the latest challenge to DNA collection laws by privacy advocates after a series of recent legal setbacks. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v. King that a state law requiring DNA collection for arrestees charged with “serious crimes” did not violate the Fourth Amendment. One year later, an en banc Ninth Circuit panel held that California’s DNA collection law does not violate the U.S. constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches...