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NY Lawmakers Propose Expansion of DNA Law

By Kamika Dunlap on May 14, 2010 9:50 AM

New York lawmakers have proposed an expansion of the state's DNA law requiring police to take samples from those charged with serious felonies.

The proposed bill would help to expand the state's DNA database, ultimately aiming to close thousands of unsolved cases, give justice to grieving families and put felons behind bars, the Albany Times Union reports.

Specifically, DNA collection would be required for anyone arrested for any one of 67 felony crimes, including assault, murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual abuse, or 18 specified misdemeanors.

In addition, anyone who had their DNA samples collected but is not convicted of a crime, can request the removal of their sample from the state database.

As previously discussed, 21 other states around the country have an "at arrest" DNA law.

In Ohio, a new DNA law on the books aims to protect the innocent from wrongful convictions and put the real criminals behind bars.

Gov. Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 77 into law, setting new statewide standards requiring DNA samples to be taken from anyone arrested for a felony.

Experts have called Ohio's new DNA law a model for improving the criminal justice system.

New York has more than 30,000 unsolved crimes. The new DNA expansion bill would not only help solve crime, but exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted.

New York's current DNA database has been in operation since 1999, but lawmakers say the new bill will bring improvements.

The bill's supporters also say police and courts must have all the tools possible to bring closure to cases and prevent more from occurring.

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