Thursday, June 04, 2009

Taser Use Approved to Procure DNA Sample

The Buffalo News reports that Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza ruled this week that it is permissible for the police to use a taser (administering a 50,000 volt electric shock) to procure a DNA sample from a suspect.

The court first ordered the defendant to provide an oral swab, which the defendant voluntarily agreed to do. However, the government sent the DNA sample to the wrong lab for analysis, and the sample was spoiled as a result. The government then gained a ex parte order for a second oral swab and sought the defendant's compliance in gaining the second DNA sample. When the defendant refused to comply at the jail, the police handcuffed the suspect, placed him on the ground, and administered the 50,000 volt shock. After he was Tasered and agreed to the give the sample, the police charged him with contempt of court for his refusal to comply with a lawful court order.

The judge refused to suppress the DNA sample and ruled that the police used a reasonable amount of force to carry out a lawful court order.

The Indignant Indigent will provide further updates on this case as it winds its way through the courts.