SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court has authorized so-called "John Doe" arrest warrants that contain only a DNA profile of an unknown suspect.
Police agencies are increasingly using the no-name warrants to get around statute-of-limitation issues. DNA collected from a crime scene is described in the warrant and when a match is made, the suspect can be arrested even decades later.
The state high court on Monday upheld the rape conviction of Paul Robinson, who was arrested one month after the six-year statute of limitations expired on the case. The justices, in a 5-2 decision, said an arrest warrant without Robinson's name but with his DNA profile issued before the expiration is valid.
The court ruled that a DNA profile is specific enough to justify an arrest warrant.