Decision -- S & Marper Vs. United Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #69121656 Related Topics: Dna Exonerations, The Decision, Public Vs Private, United Kingdom
Excerpt from Essay :


The cases of S & Marper v United Kingdom involved the claims of two individuals that their rights had been violated by the retention of their fingerprints and identifying DNA material by police after their exoneration from the criminal charges against them. The bases of their claim was that: (1) Section 1 of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) guarantees that "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence" and that Section 2 of Article 8 prohibits any "interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."; and that (2) Article 14 of the ECHR guarantees the "enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention" against discrimination by virtue of "any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

The Court rejected the claim of discrimination under Article 14 but found in favor of the applicants on their Article 8-based claim and awarded damages. I am inclined to disagree with the ruling...


First, it is clear that the actions of the state should have been authorized by Section 2 of Article 8. Second, while I would also have rejected the Article 14 claim, the Article 14-based argument against discrimination is potentially stronger than the Article 8 claim.

The Article 8 Claim -- Right to Respect for Private and Family Life

The applicants argued that the fingerprints and DNA material retained by law enforcement authorities contain highly personal, private, and potentially sensitive information about them. Likewise, by virtue of the nature of DNA technology, the retention of their personal information also necessarily means that the personal information of their relatives is also at issue. According to the applicants, the continued retention of their identifying information after their acquittal from the charges upon which their arrest was predicated, much more so, the indefinite retention of their personal identifying information in connection with those criminal charges amounted to a violation of the obligation imposed on government authorities by Section 1 of Article 8 of the ECHR to respect the private and family life of every person.

In considering the argument, the Court considered the fact that most Western societies either prohibit the retention of such evidence after the acquittal of the defendant of the charges or provide the opportunity for those acquitted defendants to petition the authorities involved to destroy the evidence collected in connection with the investigation (Economist, 2008). The Court gave excessive weight to that Section 1-based Article 8 argument while giving insufficient weight to the response of the government. Specifically, the government cited Section 2 of Article 8 that provides a broad and logical exemption from the obligation to comply with Section 1 when doing so is "in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Meanwhile, the evidence was collected precisely in the manner foreseen by Article 8 Section 2 and, therefore, should have exempted the government authorities involved from liability to the applicants. Perhaps more importantly, Article 8 Section 2 should also have permitted the government authorities to retain the evidence indefinitely.

Rationale for Disagreement with the Court's Article 8 Ruling

The issue of respecting the private and family life (and the home and correspondence) of a person would rightfully be characterized as having been infringed upon where government agents intruded into the home to demand unwarranted compliance with collection procedures, or entered into the home surreptitiously, or confronted an individual not charged with a crime to demand identifying information such as fingerprints or DNA material. However, it is incomprehensible that the mere retention of properly-collected evidence of this type could subject the authorities involved to liability or that they would be forced to destroy that…

Sources Used in Documents:


The Economist (December 4, 2008). DNA and human rights -- "Throw it out: A court decision limits the scope of police DNA databases." Accessed online:

Cite this Document:

"Decision -- S & Marper Vs United" (2012, June 10) Retrieved October 6, 2022, from

"Decision -- S & Marper Vs United" 10 June 2012. Web.6 October. 2022. <>

"Decision -- S & Marper Vs United", 10 June 2012, Accessed.6 October. 2022,

Related Documents
DNA Exonerations: Some Racial Considerations
Words: 1668 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 45722637

The authors also argue that the lack of black political representations is not helping the cause and that the "three strikes you're out" rule is designed to punish repeat offenders and reward police officers and citizens who feel that blacks are inherently more criminal (Healey and O'Brien, 2007, pp. 207). When one segment of a society is labeled as "criminal," and even blacks begin to hate other blacks and

DNA Exonerations
Words: 1013 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Genetics Paper #: 38768949

DNA The emergence of DNA testing has resulted in the exoneration of many people convicted of crimes. The ACLU (2011) has stated that 17 people on death row were exonerated as of September, 2011. A project in Virginia found 33 individuals convicted of sexual assaults who between 1973-1987 who were still incarcerated in 2012 and whose innocence was demonstrated by DNA testing (Michaels, 2012). DNA testing has proven effective at uncovering

DNA Evidence Related to Capital Punishment
Words: 2703 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 45851939

Capital Punishment & DNA DNA Evidence, Capital Punishment, & the Criminal Justice System Capital Punishment is an issue of great contention. There are many people who strongly favor the use of capital punishment; there are also a great number of people that are adamantly against the use of capital punishment. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) evidence has become a crucial factor in the criminal justice system and the issue of capital punishment. Since the

DNA Analysis on Criminal Cases'
Words: 3648 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 2009717

" Giannelli (2003) stresses that advantages and reliability of scientific and technical evidence depend on whether a scientific culture exists. For reliability of DNA and other scientific evidence, there have to be sufficient written protocols and "an empirical basis for the most basic procedures." (Giannelli, 2003) Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer (cited by Giannelli, 2003) conclude that their investigations revealed that a third of the criminal convictions of 62

DNA in the Criminal Justice System
Words: 1422 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 83822367

DNA in Criminal Justice System DNA in the Criminal Justice System -- DNA as Evidence Justice and Science Sources of DNA at Crime Scene Evidence Collection DNA Evidence on Trial DNA Matching This paper addresses the use of DNA in criminal justice system. The research paper will cover the usage of DNA as evidence. The importance of DNA in any criminal case as forensic evidence will be discussed through case studies. The role of DNA in court

DNA History of DNA Testing
Words: 2390 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Genetics Paper #: 44598398

Much of the credit for these exonerations goes to teams of reporters, professors, students, and pro bono attorneys who were willing to listen to the claims of innocence from imprisoned defendants and who dedicated hundreds of hours of uncompensated time to proving these men innocent (Gould, 2008)." In fact, in June of 2009 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that prisoners do not have the right to DNA