Need more proof that we’re living in a sci-fi dystopia? Then look no further than New Jersey, where newly discovered records show police used DNA taken from a newborn to arrest his father for a crime he allegedly committed dozens of times. years ago.
A public records request filed by the New Jersey Public Defender’s Office and the nonprofit news organization New Jersey Monitor forced the US state to reveal that it had indeed used DNA taken from the blood sample of a newly- born to indict his father for a sexual assault he allegedly committed in 1996.
If the fact that blood samples are taken from newborns is new to you, know that you are not alone. Most babies born in the United States since the 1970s have their blood drawn to test for disease. In the age of cheap genetic testing, these ordinary samples can become evidence of a legal nature, indicates Futurism.
A science fiction dystopia
These mandatory tests are often done without parental consent, although parents can request exemptions on religious grounds. Once collected, these samples can even be used in biomedical research, and most states do not require parental consent for this.
That said, NJ Monitor claimed when it first filed the lawsuit that it was the first known public court to use newborn DNA to indict a family member.
According to the lawsuit, the unidentified father learned that the state had successfully subpoenaed a state lab to use his nine-year-old child’s DNA to establish a material basis for the sexual assault case. He found out about this when he was subpoenaed to take a DNA test himself, which then turned out to be a match to the genetic material taken from the 1996 sexual assault.
The child’s DNA used to incriminate the child’s father
In the lawsuit, the NJ Public Defender’s Office said it believed the use of the newborn’s DNA to gain access to the father’s genetic material constituted an “unlawful search,” and the office is now trying to find out how often the police use DNA in these situations.
“This is like a dystopian onion,” said attorney Jennifer Sellitti. “Every time we peel back another layer, we find a new violation of privacy.”