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.”