New Jersey health officials gave police access to baby’s DNA for criminal investigation, lawsuit says

A new lawsuit has been filed by the New Jersey Department of Health, alleging that it provided police with an infant’s blood sample to identify a suspect in a murder investigation.

The New Jersey Office of Public Defenders (OPD) and nonprofit news site New Jersey Monitor jointly accused the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) of violating the state’s public records and common law laws last month. .

According to the complaint, the DOH does not disclose how often the lab received subpoenas to access its supply of infant DNA and from which law enforcement agencies when plaintiffs filed record requests. said.

According to the lawsuit, a request for records to know “all subpoenas filed with the Newborn Screening Institute by law enforcement from June 1, 2016 to date” was denied by the DOH.

Redaction-compliant record requests that prevented the release of “all names, case numbers, and other identifying information” were also denied.

The issue was highlighted last year when a man was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl in 1996.

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According to the complaint, New Jersey police obtained a blood sample from the 59-year-old suspect’s 9-year-old child from a newborn screening laboratory. The suspect’s DNA sample, taken from the girl’s bed, had already been recorded in a national database, according to the Atlantic County Attorney’s Office.

Police used the infant’s blood sample to create a family tree and claimed an affidavit of probable cause for the child’s paternity.

Criminal charges were filed against the father after investigators obtained a DNA swab of the suspect. He brought the police way to his OPD’s attention.

The Washington Times did not name the man because the defendant was found not guilty of the charges brought against him as the case against him was settled in June.

New Jersey law requires blood samples to be taken from each baby within 48 hours of birth to screen for 60 diseases.

The lawsuit states that test cards typically have “dried blood stains,” which plaintiffs claim are kept by the state for 23 years after testing.

The lawsuit alleges that law enforcement in New Jersey “thus circumvented the warrant requirement and instead exploited blood samples collected for health purposes to conduct criminal investigations. You will be shocked to learn that the samples have been held by the Ministry of Health for over 20 years and that children’s blood samples have been accessed by law enforcement without their knowledge or consent to analyze their DNA. ”

Blood has been drawn from newborns without parental consent in New Jersey since the law went into effect in 1977, but lawsuits allow parents or guardians to object to the practice on religious grounds. It has said.

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