FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 12, 2005 Contact: Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director (202) 483-1140 ext. 106 firstname.lastname@example.org EPIC FILES BRIEF IN DNA DRAGNET CASE Shows that Investigative Technique is Unsuccessful, Calls for Guidelines to Govern Collection of DNA EPIC has filed a "friend of the court" brief in a federal court case addressing whether the police may coerce a person to provide a DNA sample. The brief was submitted just as Congress is considering controversial legislation that would expand the scope of DNA profiles in CODIS, the FBI's national DNA database. The case concerns a 2002 DNA dragnet initiated by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during a serial rape-murder investigation. Police targeted men in southern Louisiana, asking them to provide DNA samples to determine whether one of them might be the rapist-murderer. By 2003, police had taken samples from more than 1,200 men in what was the largest DNA dragnet in U.S. history at the time. At least 15 men, including Shannon Kohler, declined to let police take a DNA sample. The Baton Rouge Police Department obtained a warrant to force Mr. Kohler to submit his DNA sample for the investigation. Mr. Kohler was identified by the police and news media as a suspect in the highly publicized investigation. The police later cleared Mr. Kohler as a suspect. Mr. Kohler filed suit, alleging that the warrant used to obtain his DNA was not supported by probable cause. He has asked for his DNA profile to be removed from any state or federal database and has requested damages for the invasion of his privacy in violation of constitutional guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure. In February 2005, the court dismissed Mr. Kohler's claim, finding that police had probable cause based on two anonymous tips and the fact that Mr. Kohler met "certain elements of an FBI profile," which the court characterized as "so broad and vague that it cast a net of suspicion over thousands of citizens." EPIC's brief surveys more than 20 DNA dragnets conducted in the United States over the past 15 years. The brief shows that the investigative technique has failed repeatedly to identify the intended targets of investigations, but has compromised the privacy rights of thousands of innocent people. The brief urges that clear guidelines be established before the police engage in this investigative practice. EPIC's amicus brief in Kohler v. Englade: http://www.epic.org/privacy/kohler/amicus.pdf More information about the case: http://www.epic.org/privacy/kohler DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, S. 1197 Title X: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:S.1197: .