Sunday, April 01, 2007

DNA Swab Does Not Violate Putative Father's Free Exercise Rights

In State of Ohio ex rel. Maxwell v. Trikilis, (OH App., March 26, 2007), an Ohio appellate court rejected a putative father's claim that taking a DNA sample from him in order to determine paternity violated his free exercise rights under the Ohio and U.S. constitutions. Deann Maxwell claimed that his religion, Spiritual Individualism, contains a tenet that nothing can be taken from the body unless it serves a medical purpose. The court held that the state has a compelling interest in ensuring that children are supported by their natural parents. It concluded that the state had used the least restrictive means available to resolve the paternity dispute when it took a DNA sample by a buccal swab instead of by drawing blood.