When you're arrested for a felony in the state of California, so is your DNA. The Golden State takes a DNA sample from everyone arrested for a felony, any felony, whether or not they’re eventually charged with a crime, much less convicted. But this isn't limited to rapists, puppy killers, and other violent offenders. This can apply to things like, say, drug arrests, those wrongfully arrested due to police misconduct, busted for writing a bad check, and people who've been arrested during political demonstrations. Not so free speech-y when you get your DNA is taken after expressing said right to free speech, right? Right.
Take, for example, Lily Haskell. She was arrested at a "peace rally" in San Francisco earlier this year. According to the lawsuit, Haskell, who was attending an Iraq War protest at Civic Center, was busted for "taking a person from police custody," which is a felony.
In March 2009, Lily Haskell attended a peace rally in San Francisco and was arrested. She was not charged with a crime and was quickly released, but not before being required to provide a DNA sample.
"When your DNA is taken after an arrest at a political demonstration, it can have a silencing effect on political action," said Haskell. "Now my genetic information is stored indefinitely in a government database, simply because I was exercising my right to speak out."
Though people like Haskell can get their DNA expunged from the state database, it's a tedious and lengthy process.