(CN) – The government can require a man accused of possessing child pornography to submit his DNA sample in order to make bail, the 9th Circuit ruled.
Jerry Pool was indicted for allegedly possessing child pornography. As a condition of his pretrial release, the district court ordered him to give his DNA so authorities could confirm his identity.
Pool refused to give his DNA, arguing that being forced to do so constituted a violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
The collection of DNA does qualify as a search, the 9th Circuit ruled, but because the government had a strong interest in confirming Pool’s identity, it was not a violation of Pool’s rights.
The San Francisco-based appeals court upheld a federal judge’s order requiring Pool to give his DNA.
“We hold that where a court has determined that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a felony, the government’s interest in definitively determining the defendant’s identity outweighs the defendant’s privacy interest,” Judge Consuelo Callahan wrote.
The panel ruled that the taking of DNA is appropriate “in cases in which the government’s use of the DNA is limited to identification purposes and there is no indication that the government intends to use the information for any other purpose.”