Rape suspect sues over DNA seizure

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 30, 2008, 10:27pm

A man accused of raping a DuPage County woman filed a federal complaint alleging his constitutional rights were violated when jail officials took his toothbrush in order to obtain a DNA sample.

Larry Barrett claims that while he was jailed on an unrelated misdemeanor charge at the Jefferson County jail, detectives from Downers Grove Police Department contacted Jefferson County officials and asked them to try to get his DNA from a toothbrush, razor or silverware.

Barrett claims he was first asked to give his DNA voluntarily, but decided not to do so.

He claims on Nov. 23, 2006, Jefferson County officials conducted a "shakedown" and "cell search" of all the inmates on his cell block.

Barrett claims while officials were conducting their search, they took his toothbrush without his consent and knowledge and without a warrant, thus violating his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.

Barrett claims jail officials took his toothbrush even though it was not considered contraband and also took it in order to further a criminal investigation and not to further institutional security.

Representing himself, Barrett also alleges his Fifth Amendment rights were violated because he was forced to give evidence against himself and depriving him of liberty without due process.

He seeks an unspecified award of compensatory damages, nominal damages and punitive damages.

Downers Grove detectives say the DNA on his toothbrush matches the DNA left behind at the rape crime scene. DuPage Circuit Judge Michael Burke ruled that the evidence is admissible at his upcoming trial.

Barrett is charged with repeatedly raping a Downers Grove woman on her couch and then telling her she better not call police.

Burke cited a 1984 decision by the Supreme Court on searches of prison cells that said a prisoner has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his prison cell.

Barrett is currently in the DuPage County jail awaiting trial.

His case has been assigned to District Court Judge Michael Reagan.

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