Mayfield v. Dalton
United States. Court of Appeals. Ninth Circuit
Federal Reporter, 3d Series 1997; 109: 1423-1427
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated a case in which the Department of Defense's compulsory taking of blood and tissue specimens from armed services members was claimed to be an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Mayfield and Vlacovsky were on active duty in the U.S. Marines when they challenged the military's order to give up blood and tissue samples for its DNA Registry, a repository for identification of remains of soldiers killed on duty. Mayfield and Vlacovsky also feared the possibility of discrimination from genetic information concerning propensity for disease. Between the decision of the federal district court and oral argument in this case, Mayfield and Vlacovsky had gone off active duty and joined the reserves. The court found the issue to be moot because Mayfield and Vlacovsky were not subject to the DNA collection program except in the remote possibility that they returned to active duty in an emergency situation. Also, between the two cases, the Department of Defense had shortened its specimen storage policy from 75 to 50 years and added the option of destroying the specimens at the donor's request upon separation from the service.
Date of Decision: 27 March 1997
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