Friday, June 17, 2011

New York State Senate Votes to Expand DNA Usage

NYS Senate Votes to Expand DNA Usage

By: Joseph Giacalone

The New York State Senate overwhelming passed new legislation that would require taking DNA samples from everyone convicted of a misdemeanor. This will benefit both ends of the spectrum: Crime Control Advocates and Civili Libertarians. However, most will view it as a move that favors crime control.

Christmas came early for Crime Control Advocates. This new bill will assuredly lead to the closure of more cold cases and most importantly incapacitate those that prey on others. This move is similar to the law passed in New Mexico, named "Katie's Law," but goes even further by adding misdemeanor convictions. The New Mexico Law requires a DNA sample from all of those arrested for a felony - not a conviction.

Since most cases are plead out, especially felonies to misdemeanors, this law will expand the database quickly. Police will now have the capability of identifying perpetrators from past crimes before they can strike again.

For Civil Libertarians this law provides a faster way of exonerating the innocent and to prevent other miscarriages of justice. Inmates currently appealing their conviction will have access to a database that will double in size. Civil Libertarians received their gift early too. Hidden inside of the bill was a requirement to record police interrogations. Civil Libertarians have been after this piece of legislation for a long time and was probably the compromise to push the bill into law.

No matter which side of the divide you stand on, this new law has benefits for both.

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