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Senator Fuschillo: Senate Approves Measure To Expand And Enhance The Dna Database

 

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. announced today that the Senate has approved legislation that he co-sponsored to expand the state’s DNA database to include samples from every person convicted of a crime. The measure would also improve the methods for collection and preservation of DNA evidence and extend the statute of limitations for cases based on DNA evidence.

Senator Fuschillo (R-Merrick) said, "The DNA databank is a powerful tool that helps law enforcement solve crimes and protect New Yorkers. This legislation broadening the DNA database will greatly expand law enforcement’s ability to identify those guilty of crimes and exonerate those who are not."

Last year, the State Senate successfully pushed for enactment of a law which for the first time included samples from criminals convicted of all felonies and the most common misdemeanors. The bill approved today would strengthen this law by mandating that authorities collect DNA from everyone convicted of a crime, as well as individuals on probation, parole, supervision or registered as sex offenders.

This legislation further increases the impact of the DNA database by extending the statute of limitations for DNA cases. DNA evidence is considered the most effective technique for identifying the perpetrator of a crime. A DNA sample found at a crime scene remains accurate, regardless of how much time passes. Understanding the unique nature of DNA as evidence in an investigation makes this extension of the statute of limitations a critical way of utilizing the database.

The legislation (S.5848) includes several provisions to expand the scope and effectiveness of DNA collection:

- Expands the application for DNA collection to cover all convictions, including various misdemeanors, youthful offenders and registered sex offenders, in order to increase the utility of DNA in solving future crimes,

- Specifies the public officers responsible for collecting DNA samples from defendants to ensure that every person convicted of a crime has their DNA collected and added to the databank.

- Develops guidelines for the collection and preservation of DNA samples to establish effective and consistent practices whenever DNA is collected,

- Enhances the rights of criminal defendants by allowing them to apply for DNA testing before their trial begins and also in cases where they have previously pleaded guilty. The bill also expands the scope of a defendant’s application to include a comparison between crime-scene evidence and DNA databanks.



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