Senator Steve Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie) announces that the law he sponsored to expand New York State’s DNA Databank becomes effective as of today. The law provides the largest expansion of the state’s DNA databank since it was created in 1994 and represents a joint effort between of the Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and State law enforcement to ensure that New York continues to set the standard in statewide safety.
Before the passage of this law, DNA was collected from less than fifty percent of those convicted of Penal Law crimes. The expansion requires DNA to be collected from those convicted of all felonies in state law and every penal law misdemeanor with the exception of a Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession, as long as there were no prior convictions. It also expands access to DNA Databank comparisons for certain criminal defendants which they can use to establish their innocence when necessary.
It is commonly accepted that those who commit serious crimes often have been convicted of other, lower-level, crimes. The expanded Databank will act as critical instrument for law enforcement as it will provide the crucial link between those convictions, helping them shed light on unsolved crimes, prevent future criminal activity, and provide a means to exonerate the innocent.
“The expansion of the DNA Databank illustrates the ability of the Legislature and the Executive to come together to address the needs of our State.” said Senator Saland. “Working closely with law enforcement, we have improved upon a significant tool that will only benefit the people of this State and reaffirm New York’s position as a pioneer in safety.”