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Cuomo Signs Expansion Of DNA Databank Into Law

DNA samples now required for those convicted of misdemeanors, as well as felonies.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the “DNA Database Expansion Bill” into law, requiring testing and maintaining DNA samples in a database for all persons convicted of misdemeanors and felonies, similar to the current fingerprint registry.

Previously, New York law required DNA testing of only those convicted of a felony under the Penal Law or certain misdemeanors.

“This law will have a big impact on law enforcement, in terms of resolving crimes and thwarting further offenses,” said Assemblywoman Amy R. Paulin, D-Scarsdale. “It is a cleaner, more accurate way to identify perpetrators.  I am pleased that New York State has passed a law that will help victims of sexual assault and other crimes find closure.”

Cuomo said he signed the bill today because DNA is a modern law enforcement tool that will help New York solve and prevent crimes — and also exonerate the innocent.

"The bottom line is that this is a tool that works, and will make the state safer for all New Yorkers," said Cuomo.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, president of the New York State District Attorneys’ Association, said the database expansion will go far in helping the state's law enforcement prevent future crimes, resolve pending cases and significantly expand defendants' access to DNA testing to help eliminate wrongful convictions — with the goal of keeping our communities throughout New York State safe.

"We live in a technological age and with the expansion of New York State’s DNA Databank, we are capitalizing on the power of DNA as a crime fighting tool,” DiFiore said. “The widening of the sampling pool, advocated by Governor Cuomo and passed by the Legislature, will require DNA samples to be collected from all convicted criminal defendants who are found guilty of all felonies and penal law misdemeanors.”

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe also applauded the signing of the legislation.

"I commend Governor Cuomo for making the expansion of the DNA databank
a legislative priority this year," Zugibe said. "DNA is one of the most reliable forms of evidence we use to both convict the guilt and exonerate the innocent.
In addition, it is cost-effective and can be used to solve cold cases from decades past."

Donald B. Smith shared similar sentiments. 

“We sheriffs thank Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for passing and enacting this extremely important law,” he said. “DNA technology has exponentially revolutionized modern law enforcement’s capability to solve crimes, and that will do much to help keep every county in the State a safer place to live, work and raise our families.”

Bob Ogden March 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
In the long term, this will be the most significant piece of legislation signed by this Governor. This database will become a significant source of evidence for crimes committed both in the past and in the future. Congratulations to all concerned.
Reclaim your DNA March 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
New York Governor Cuomo batters everyone into submission with another relentless propaganda wave sponsored by the DNA industry lobby selling test kits at $30 a pop, while Police Officers can't even be bothered to examine crime scenes in many cases. Meanwhile in the UK the National DNA Data Base was bartered into existence into a similar sneaky way by Labour DNA zealots. A few years later the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the addition of millions of innocent people to NDAD, never convicted of any crime, breached their fundamental right to a 'private life'. Now the new UK coalition government is having to spend millions trying to erase all these illegally held innocent records from what is after all a stigmatizing crime data base. It breaks my heart that in the USA ' land of the free', people are sleepwalking into this serious privacy intrusion by the state. After all, paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, people who trade liberty (which implies privacy) for security deserve neither and will loose both!
Dina Sciortino March 21, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I wonder how much this will cost.
Francis T McVetty March 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
All though DNA is used primarily to convict criminals there have been many cases where it has been used to clear a suspect. In some cases even clear a person that has been convicted and is serving time. Why do we keep DNA for children? It is a means of identification. You may read into this what you may but it is no different than your fingerprints or your dental records. What the heck does this mean [Now the new UK coalition government is having to spend millions trying to erase all these illegally held innocent records from what is after all a stigmatizing crime data base]. The data base is what it is, a data base. There is nothing criminal or stigmatizing about it.
Ross Revira March 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
DNA samples in a database for all persons CONVICTED of misdemeanors and felonies, similar to the current fingerprint registry. How does that translate into Innocent people? Oh I forgot everybody convicted of a crime is innocent.
Francis T McVetty March 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Ross, the current data base of finger prints is mostly made up of innocent people. People that have firearms, work for the government, security positions, and the list goes on have their fingerprints on file at the FBI. Do you think that is an invasion of their privacy? If you are convicted of a crime then your DNA goes into the system. Do you have a problem with that? I think that those who have be cleared of a crime, using their DNA, may disagree with you.
Ross Revira March 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Francis , I am one of those people with fingerprints on record as I carry a firearm. No problem with the government having mine. I would advocate having DNA taken upon birth. Think how much time and money would be saved by eliminating the innocent as suspects. As a philosophical argument I would like the government not to know I exist but as a practical matter fingerprints and DNA collection will ultimately save lives.
emetib March 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM
You must be a republican.
Ross Revira March 25, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Are only Republicans in favor of saving innocent victims from crime and sparing innocent people from being convicted?
Fly on the Wall March 25, 2012 at 01:16 PM
What sort of chain of custody is there. What is to stop a disgruntled NYS DNA worker from stealing my or your DNA and adding it to a crime scene or switching it with another person already in the database. Remember folks we are talking about NYS Government here, Finger prints are hard to put at a crime scene without being there but DNA?
Ross Revira March 25, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The amount of DNA collected will de minimis not a pint of blood. Sometimes we have to trust the government. You must believe OJ was innocent.
Francis T McVetty March 25, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Emetib, It is hard to DNA samples and then transfer them to a crime scene. Forget about what you see in the movies or on television. It is a useful tool for law enforcement to convict and also exonerate an individual.
Lars Franck March 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
People, watch out, be a little more circumspect before you celebrate the latest feckless pol stealing another morsel of your freedom. Now it's DNA for Misdemeanors. Next, for traffic infractions. Eventually, everyone, including health insurance companies and others that want to 'screen' your DNA for their own purposes.
Ross Revira March 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM
What freedom is being stolen? If you mean freedom to commit crimes which will make it harder to be caught then I agree.
David May 19, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I'm not sure if anyone realizes this, but before you are convicted of any crime, your fingerprints are taken. If found innocent and the charges are dropped, do you think they destroy your fingerprint records? No. They keep them whether you are innocent or guilty. If found innocent, they should be destroyed, as you never would have had to submit them if you weren't wrongfully arrested in the first place. Does this make sense to anyone?
Ross Revira May 19, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Why would that bother anyone ? The only person that it would bother is someone contemplating committing a crime. From a purely idealistic point of view I would like the government not to know I exist. From a practical sense it is a necessary intrusion to keep society safe from crime.
Francis T McVetty May 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Finger prints can be used to identify you if your dead body is found someplace. It is part of a data base that can be useful and it seems to me, non-intrusive. Don't see the down side of it.

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