INDIANAPOLIS | Hoosiers heading to jail, if they have time to change, might want to wear clean clothes.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday police do not need a warrant to conduct DNA or other laboratory testing on clothing or other items taken from a prisoner during the jail booking process.
In its 5-0 decision, the state's high court said items lawfully seized by police do not require a warrant to permit laboratory testing, since the item already legally is in police custody.
"It would be extremely cumbersome to require law enforcement to take the 'belt-and-suspenders' approach of applying for an independent warrant anytime they wish to examine or test a piece of evidence they have already lawfully seized," wrote Justice Mark Massa for the court.
The ruling stemmed from a Sept. 14, 2010 murder in St. Joseph County.
Douglas Guilmette, now 41, was arrested for stealing from his co-worker, Greg Piechocki, and suspected of beating him to death with a baseball bat.
When Guilmette's clothes and shoes were taken as part of the standard jail booking procedure, police found blood on Guilmette's shoelace that testing later revealed matched Piechocki's DNA.
Guilmette argued the DNA evidence should have been suppressed at trial because his arrest for theft did not justify searching his property in connection with a murder, absent a warrant.
The Supreme Court's decision rejecting that argument upholds Guilmette's 92-year prison sentence for murder and theft.