Amato v. O'Keefe

Keith Amato voluntarily provided a DNA sample as part of the investigation into the murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington in 2002, on one simple condition: Mr. Amato got assurances from police that they would destroy the information they collected from his sample when they were done—but they didn't, even though his DNA didn't match, and another man was prosecuted and convicted.

A lower court dismissed the challenge that the ACLU of Massachusetts brought on Mr. Amato's behalf, but the state Appeals Court ruled unanimously in August 2011 that his lawsuit can go forward.

The right to genetic privacy is not only important to each of us as individuals. Our genes can reveal current and future health concerns about blood relatives, since close relations share much of the same genetic code. And in a time in which government agencies are compiling more and more data on ordinary Americans in the name of security, the significance of Amato's challenge goes beyond DNA, to the government's retention of records of any kind about innocent people.

Media

8.30.11

Law Enforcement Still Holds DNA From Worthington Case
Radio Boston, WBUR

8.26.11

Proskauer & ACLU Pro Bono Victory Sets Precedent for Massachusetts Privacy Law
News Release

If you don't have the rights to your own DNA, what rights do you have?
Blog

8.28.08

State Police return DNA sample
News Release

6.19.08

ACLU of Massachusetts Files Suit to Stop "Shadow" DNA Databases
News Release


Legal Documents

Complaint