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DNA given in one case can be used in another

A defendant who submits to a DNA mouth swab in one case can’t prevent prosecutors from using it to solve a cold case, according to a new decision from the Virginia Court of Appeals.

In Pharr v. Commonwealth (VLW 007-7-239), the court said that use of the DNA didn’t violate the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights.

While the issue is one of first impression in Virginia, Judge Jean Harrison Clements wrote that the “overwhelming weight of authority” from other states supports the ruling.

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