Gallivan Hails DNA as "Best Tool For Law Enforcement Since Fingerprints"
Senator Patrick M. Gallivan applauded Governor Cuomo today after signing DNA databank expansion legislation into law, making New York State the first "all crimes DNA" state in the nation. The State Senate passed legislation to implement the expansion of the state’s DNA Databank in January.
The new law will require criminals convicted of all felonies, as well as all penal law misdemeanors, to submit DNA samples.
"As a former State Trooper and former Sheriff of Erie County, I can say without hesitation that the use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations has proven to be the most effective tool at law enforcements' disposal for prosecuting criminals and exonerating the innocent since the advent of finger printing," Senator Gallivan said.
Since its inception, DNA stored in the databank has been used to identify perpetrators in about 10,000 crimes, including 900 murders and 3,500 sexual assaults. Since 2006, when the DNA databank was expanded to include 36 misdemeanors, law enforcement agencies have used the information to convict 1,460 criminals.
Gallivan added that the benefits of an "all crimes" DNA databank should be particularly appreciated by many in the Western New York area. "In 1991, Altemio Sanchez was convicted of a misdemeanor offense. Had this legislation been in place then, law enforcement would have discovered that Altemio Sanchez was, in fact, the notorious Western New York serial killer and rapist known as the Bike Path Rapist. DNA evidence collected through other means eventual led to the conviction of Sanchez as the Bike Path Rapist in 2007, but not after more women were brutalized and a man falsely convicted of his crimes had served nearly 20 years in prison. Expanding New York's DNA databank will help ensure justice is served, and as important, injustice is prevented."
The DNA databank expansion proposal garnered significant support from law enforcement organizations across the state, including the New York State Sheriffs Association, District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the New York State Troopers PBA, Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, Joyful Heart Foundation, the Safe Horizon victim assistance organization and many other law enforcement groups throughout the state.
The DNA Databank was established in 1994. Since then half a dozen laws have been enacted to expand and improve the databank, most recently in 2006.