posted on Nov, 27 2004 @ 12:14 PM
This story has within the last few days begun to percolate the news wires. A Pennsylvania policeman had hair samples taken without his permission for
drug analysis. The constitutional (USA) question seems well settled- in America your hair is subject to search without probable cause or the need for
any court order.
Hair lacks constitutional protection
By Sherry F. Colb
FindLawexternal link Columnist
Special to CNN.com
Friday, November 19, 2004 Posted: 1:34 PM EST (1834 GMT)
(FindLaw) -- At the end of last month, in the case of Coddington v. Evanko, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that police officers
may constitutionally shave large amounts of hair from a suspect's head, neck, and shoulders, without a warrant, probable cause, or any basis for
suspecting that the hair would provide evidence of crime.
The Court (3rd Circuit) went on to state:
The Fourth Amendment guarantees the people the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. But according to the court, the Fourth
Amendment does not apply to hair removal.
In so ruling, the Third Circuit followed its own 1982 precedent, In re Grand Jury Proceedings (Appeal of Mills), which held that taking hair
samples from visible parts of a suspect's body does not invade any reasonable expectation of privacy. Such investigation therefore does not qualify
as a Fourth Amendment "search."
This is probably not new to lawyers and criminals but should be news to others. Human hair along with fingerprints and what else are allowed to be
taken routinely in America. There is no probable cause requirement and no constitutional protection. As we have all learned in the last few years DNA
may be the “magic bullet” prosecutors had long hoped fingerprints would be.
One other Internet source for this story was found at the time of this post that does not relate back to the same source.
[edit on 28-11-2004 by ludite]