The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that an arrest warrant can be issued for an unknown suspect on the basis of DNA evidence.
The ruling, which the Sacramento Bee called "groundbreaking," enables law enforcement to beat filing deadlines in criminal cases without having the name of a suspect in the case. Justice Carlos Moreno, in a dissent, called this a "clever artifice intended solely to satisfy the statute of limitations until the identity of the perpetrator could be discovered."
The opinion affirmed the conviction of a rapist who was named after the six-year statute of limitations for rape had expired. Prior to his identification, the warrant issued for the rapist's arrest had read "John Doe, male black."
— Cynthia Foster