The Court of Special Appeals ruled that DNA extracted from a chair where a suspect was sitting was admissible evidence holding that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because the DNA was used for identification purposes only and the Defendant had “no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the identifying characteristics that could be gleaned from the normal biological residue he left behind.” Raynor v. State, 69, September Term 2012, filed August 27, 2014
An unknown assailant broke into a victim’s home and raped her repeatedly. Because she had been blindfolded, the victim could not identify the attacker. She called the police and investigators collected DNA evidence from her home. Over a two year period, the victim contacted investigators with the names of about twenty potential suspects. Consensual DNA samples were taken from each of them, but there were no matches to DNA found at the crime scene. Eventually, the victim contacted police to express suspicions about Raynor. Raynor agreed to speak with officers.
Police interviewed Raynor for about thirty minutes, during which time he sat in an armchair and often rubbed his arms against the armrests. He refused a consensual DNA swab of his mouth. After Raynor left the station, an officer took swabs of the armrests where Raynor had been sitting. DNA analysis showed that DNA from the armrests matched that found at the crime scene. This result was used by officers to obtain warrants for Raynor’s arrest, a second DNA sample, and a search of Raynor’s house. The second DNA sample also matched the DNA found at the crime scene as well as that taken from the rape examination. Raynor was charged.
Before trial, Raynor sought to suppress the DNA evidence obtained from the armrests. He argued that police violated his Fourth Amendment rights by taking the DNA material to connect him to the crime. The court denied his suppression motion, deciding that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because Raynor had no expectation of privacy in what he left on a chair. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed, holding that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because the DNA was used for identification purposes only and Raynor had “no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the identifying characteristics that could be gleaned from the normal biological residue he left behind.”
Source: Baltimore County Advocate