Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that the Senate passed legislation to hold violent sexual predators more accountable by eliminating the existing five-year statue of limitations that allows them to escape prosecution and punishment for their offenses and expanding New York State’s DNA Databank.
The legislation (S.6524), supported by Senator Saland, would eliminate the statute of limitations period in certain violent sexual criminal cases. Currently, only prosecutions for murder and other class A felonies are exempt for any statute of limitations. However, rapists and other violent predators can escape prosecution if they are not formally charged within a five year period.
Additionally, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Saland will now require designated offenders to provide mandatory DNA samples (S.5342). Presently, New York is the only state in the union not to require the collection of DNA samples from all felony offenders, yet it has been shown that DNA evidence has proven invaluable in not only bringing the guilty to justice, but also in exonerating those who are innocent as well.
Other provisions to the legislation would require offenders convicted as youthful offenders to provide a DNA sample for inclusion in the State DNA Databank; make it a crime when a designated offender fails to provide a DNA sample; establish the Innocence Project Program; and adds the new crime of aggravated perjury, when a witness provides false scientific testimony concerning DNA evidence.
"There is no reason, why, in the 21st century, if DNA evidence is available, that perpetrators of violent acts should avoid prosecution simply because they were not caught," Senator Saland said. "Similarly, these criminals should not be allowed to use the statute of limitations as a shield to protect themselves against prosecution for the heinous crimes they have committed."