When a federal judge in Pittsburgh ruled that prosecutors cannot, without a warrant, routinely collect DNA samples from arrestees for inclusion in a national database, he sparked an appeal that is now set to be argued before all 14 judges on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

At issue in United States v. Mitchell is perhaps one of the most important privacy rights issues facing the courts: whether routine DNA sampling should be considered no different from fingerprinting or photographing, or whether the government ought to be required to get a warrant or wait for a conviction before taking a genetic sample.

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