NJ police used baby DNA to investigate crimes, lawsuit claims - The Verge

A lawsuit claims that New Jersey State Police are using blood samples drawn from newborn babies under medical screening laws to perform DNA analysis used to link suspects to crimes.

New Jersey police may have used blood samples taken from babies to investigate crimes, according to public defenders in the state.

According to a lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (OPD), the practice came to light after a case in which New Jersey State Police successfully subpoenaed a testing lab for a blood sample drawn from a child. Police then performed DNA analysis on the blood sample that reportedly linked the child’s father to a crime committed more than 25 years ago.

The suspect then became a client of the OPD, which alerted the office to the techniques used to identify the man. The lawsuit, filed jointly by the OPD and the New Jersey Monitor, now seeks to compel the state of New Jersey to disclose information on the full extent of the practice.

All babies born in the state of New Jersey are required to have a blood sample drawn within 48 hours as part of a mandatory testing program that screens them for 60 different disorders. These samples are processed in a state-run lab, which shares data with the state health authority and communicates results to parents.

The blood samples are not directly shared with law enforcement agencies. But if police are able to reliably obtain the samples through subpoena, then effectively, the disease screening process is entering all babies born in the state into a DNA database with no ability to opt out.


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Updated: 1 month ago
New York, New York

Seattle, Washington
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