Residents upset over DNA swab collected from vehicle burglary victim

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Imagine a sheriff's deputy taking a DNA swab from your mouth, without even a warrant to do so. That is what happened to Laila Kuperman's husband.

It all began when she called the Ascension Sheriff's Department after someone broke into her husband's car. But before a deputy arrived to start his report, her husband drove the car back and forth to New Orleans for work.

"I was told to file a report after the vehicle was back at the residence so they can send out a deputy," said Kuperman.

She claims the deputy assured her he would try to find the missing items. But he had his concerns because the car had left the scene of the crime before the investigation was complete. The deputy later came back, but this time with his supervisor.

"They requested a DNA swab from my husband and also did a DNA swab on the car. He was not advised of any rights, " said Kuperman.

Marjorie Esman, the executive director of the New Orleans ACLU, has dealt with DNA swab controversies in Louisiana, most notably in Baton Rouge during the serial killer hunt that ended with the arrest of Derrick Todd Lee.

"Yes, it is definitely a violation of his right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure," said Esman.

"From a civil liberties standpoint it is troublesome that law enforcement organizations think that they can just go ahead and take DNA from anybody for any reason without probable cause or without providing any guarantees about the limitations on how their DNA is going to be used," Esman continued.

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