The U.S. Supreme Court has narrowly ruled police can take DNA samples from criminal suspects even when they have no reason to believe they may have committed other offenses.
The top U.S. court ruled five to four Monday that taking the DNA sample is similar to the long-standing police practice of fingerprinting and photographing suspects.
The court's majority said taking the DNA does not violate a U.S. constitutional prohibition against illegal searches of individuals when there is no reason to believe a suspect had committed a crime.
But the minority of four justices lost their argument that the constitutional prohibition against such searches was "categorical and without exception."
In the case the court considered, a DNA sample was taken from a suspect charged with assault in 2009. The DNA sample linked the suspect to a 2003 rape case, and he was subsequently convicted of that crime.