As long as it is not done "maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury," Niagara County, NY Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza ruled that using a Taser to obtain a DNA sample is legally valid.
In the case of one Ryan S. Smith, accused of shooting and a gas station robbery:
Smith was handcuffed and sitting on the floor of Niagara Falls Police Headquarters when he was zapped with the 50,000- volt electronic stun gun after he insisted he would not give a DNA sample.
He already had given a sample, a swab of the inside of his cheek, without protest the previous month. But police sent it to the wrong lab, where it was opened and spoiled. Prosecutors who had obtained a court order for the first sample went back to Sperrazza, who signed another order without consulting the defense.
To be fair, Sperrazza cited several precedents of her own to justify the ruling—including one case in Wyoming where it was deemed legal for the police to Taser a suspect to force him to open his hand for a search. The state's own Criminal Procedure Law also states that the use of reasonable force is legal to carry out a court order. Is refusing to give up a DNA sample on the same level as being violent? That is to say, should it be a Taserable offence? [Buffalo News via HardOCP Image via Flickr]