State senate passes DNA law
Feb 02, 2012 1:30 am
A bill to expand the state's DNA database passed the state Senate on Tuesday but Democrats, who control the Assembly, have expressed concern about whether the law will do enough to help the wrongfully convicted. Law enforcement groups as well as legislators from both parties agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to take DNA samples from people convicted of any crime. But Democrats in the Assembly want defense attorneys to have greater access to the DNA database, and they want the state to adopt other criminal justice reforms. Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to support the bill, S5560A, sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), who represents much of Columbia County in Albany. Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta), who represents Greene County also supported the bill. It passed in the Senate by a 50 to 10 vote, and Cuomo released a statement Tuesday, calling it "an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state’s criminal justice system.” Barry C. Scheck, a founder of the Innocence Project, said that if supporters of DNA expansion were serious about preventing wrongful convictions, they should promote measures like requiring videotaping of interrogations or changing the way lineups are done. Read about the DNA database bill in the Times Union.