Too often, innocent individuals sharing the same name and physical characteristics as the subject of an arrest warrant are misidentified and mistakenly held by law enforcement. The use of biometric identifiers, commonly known as fingerprint identification numbers, would help reduce the number of false arrests because a person’s fingerprints are entirely unique to that individual. Hearkening back to 1894, the Supreme Court’s prevailing interpretation of the particularity requirement of arrest warrants mandates only that the warrant include a subject’s name or general physical description. With such a low threshold to establish a facially valid warrant, law enforcement officers are essentially immunized from civil liability and mistakenly arrested individuals are without legal recourse. Such consequences do not accord with the Fourth Amendment’s “right of the people to be secure in their persons.” This Note argues that biometric identifiers, which have been used in law enforcement and have the ability to singularly identify the actual subject of an arrest warrant, should be included on arrest warrants. This embellishment of the “particularity” standard faithfully accords with the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment and would advance the rights of individuals who are wrongly arrested.
What's In A Name? A Case For Including Biometric Identifiers On Arrest Warrants,
47 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 319
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