Bill Would Enact Governor’s Proposal To Include Misdemeanors
Brewster, N.Y. – (1/31/12) –Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) and Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith joined together in Albany today to back the DNA Database Expansion Bill, which will permit the largest expansion of the state’s DNA databank since it was created in 1994. The legislation mirrors the databank expansion plan proposed by Governor Cuomo in his Executive Budget to require people convicted of all felonies, as well as all misdemeanors in the penal law to submit DNA samples.
“DNA is one of our best crime fighting tools,” Senator Ball said. “Senate Republicans fought to create the databank 18 years ago and we have successfully worked to expand it. With this expansion, New Yorkers can feel safer knowing that we will have the most powerful law enforcement tool to catch and prosecute criminals and protect victims. We have strong support from the law enforcement community and victims advocacy groups, and I am confident that the Assembly will join us in passing this measure.”
Under the current law, only about half of those convicted of a crime are required to submit DNA samples. This legislation would expand that list to include all felonies in state law and every penal law misdemeanor. It is projected that the expansion would add about 46,000 individual DNA samples a year to the databank.
The DNA databank expansion bill (S.5560A) proposal is supported by 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.
“DNA technology has exponentially revolutionized law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes and keep our counties and New York State a safe place to live, work and raise a family,” Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith said. “DNA is accurate. DNA is reliable. DNA helps us solve crimes, apprehend and convict the guilty, especially repeat offenders. DNA helps clear and protect the innocent. The key limiting factor to our ability to solve crimes through DNA is the limit placed on us by the database. This legislation corrects that shortfall.”
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.
Senate Republicans pushed for establishment of the DNA databank in 1994. Since then they have enacted half a dozen laws to expand and improve the databank.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, contact Brittany Oat (845) 200-9716.