Cuomo Budget Calls For DNA Databank Expansion
Albany, NY (WIBX) - Part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, which was unveiled yesterday, includes the expansion of the state's DNA Databank. Mark A. Spawn, Director of Research, Development and Training, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc., says the proposal will help law enforcement bring criminals to justice, and in some cases exonerate those wrongly convicted. "And, in New York there have been 27 individuals who have been exonerated through DNA," he said.
He says the Westchester County District Attorney recently senteced a suspect, who was on parole for a DWI offense, for three murders, thanks to DNA evidence. He said, "And, these convictions came about when this fellow was on parole for a DWI offense and voluntarily gave a DNA sample as part of his parole. Had it not been for that, these other three murders, under the current law, would have gone undetected."
State law currently only permits DNA samples to be taken from anyone convicted of a felony, or one of 36 misdemeanors. Pawn says if the budget gets approved, Cuomo's proposal would add about 400 additional crimes to that list, including felony drunk driving. The governor’s budget proposal will go before lawmakers in Albany for review. A signed budget is due by April 1st.
Pawn said, "Since the DNA Databank has been in place in New York State, there have been over 10,000 matches to the Databank, which have led to convictions in 189 homicides, 591 sexual assaults, 320 robberies, and over 1,300 burglaries around the state." He says if the budget gets approved, the measure would enhance public safety.