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Familial Searching

map of the United States with Massechusettes, Maryland and Washington, D.C. highlighted.

State Statutory Authorization

Each state considering familial DNA searching should review its database law in the same way that California, Colorado, and Virginia have done. While there are presently no state laws explicitly authorizing the process, these three states have come to the conclusion that familial DNA searching is just another permissible means to achieve the express purpose of law enforcement identification.17

As of January 2011, only Maryland’s and Washington D.C.’s legislative bodies have passed laws concerning familial DNA searches; both ban its use.18,19 Massachusetts has administrative code that seemingly allows familial searching but is without a formal protocol to do so.20 As more states consider the value of familial searching, the arguments for and against these practices continue to develop. The most prevalent points of debate over these practices have been privacy concerns, disproportionate impact on minorities, and the crime-fighting benefits they bring—these topics will be discussed in this section.

17 Maryland Public Safety Article Section 2-506(d); District of Columbia Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Amendment Act of 2009 Section 218.2(b).
18 Maryland Public Safety Code § 2-506(d)
19 DC ST§ 22-4151
20 Mass. Regs. Code tit. 515, § 2.14

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