Topic: DNA
Resource: Cases
Record Upload Date: January 16, 2004
Case Name: Alfaro v. Terhune
Citation: 120 Cal. Rptr. 2d 197 (Cal. Ct. App. 2002)
Case Description:

Plaintiffs, eight women on death row, brought an action against state officials, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent defendants from implementing the DNA and Forensic Identification Data Base and Data Bank Act of 1998 which required them to submit specimens of their saliva and blood for DNA testing. The trial court ordered a permanent injunction because defendants had failed to adopt sufficient administrative regulations to implement the act.

The appellate court reversed the judgment as it permanently enjoined defendants from implementing the act. The appellate court held that the trial court erred in enjoining implementation of the act, since its terms are not indefinite and vague and it can be implemented without the need for administrative regulations. Alfaro, 120 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 201. The appellate court also held that the act is constitutional, both on its face and as applied to plaintiffs. The appellate court noted that (1) non-consensual extraction of biological samples for identification purposes does implicate constitutional interests; (2) those convicted of serious crimes have a diminished expectation of privacy and the intrusions authorized by the Act are minimal; and (3) the Act serves compelling governmental interests such as avoidance of erroneous convictions. Alfaro, 120 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 208.