Court OKs 'John Doe' warrants based only on DNA

The Bismarck Tribune

San Francisco, CA

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has authorized so-called "John Doe" arrest warrants that contain only a DNA profile of an unknown suspect.

Police agencies are increasingly using no-name warrants to get around statute-of-limitation issues. DNA collected from a crime scene is described in the warrant and when a match is made, the suspect can be arrested even decades later.

The state high court on Monday upheld the rape conviction of Paul Robinson, who was arrested a month after the six-year statute of limitations expired on the case. The justices, in a 5-2 decision, said an arrest warrant without Robinson's name but with his DNA profile issued before the expiration is valid.

The court ruled that a DNA profile is specific enough to justify an arrest warrant.

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