Joyful Heart in the News

Awaiting Assembly Action State Senate Passes DNA Databank Expansion; Sheriff Gerace Calls Bill A ‘No-Brainer’

March 11th, 2012
The Post-Journal
Andrew Carr

ALBANY - The New York State Assembly is on deck to approve the state's DNA Databank Expansion Bill.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the expansion of the bill to include all misdemeanor convictions.

"Today the New York state Senate passed the DNA Databank Expansion Bill, an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state's criminal justice system," he said recently. "This critical crime fighting resource embraces technology to help protect the innocent and convict the guilty. I want to thank Senators Golden and Saland for sponsoring this legislation. I call on the Assembly to do the same so I can sign this bill into law immediately."

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace calls the move a "no-brainer."

"I can say without any hesitation that the sheriffs of the state of New York support an 'all crimes' DNA bill," he said in a previous interview, discussing the expansion.

Gerace explained that the expansion will allow people who are taken into custody for low-level busts to be tested against other crimes.

"Absolutely without question it will benefit all of law enforcement throughout the state and we are no different," said Gerace. "In one of the examples, you may have a homicide where a DNA sample is taken and it ends up being matched because somebody had a low-level arrest and conviction and that is a benefit to all society. We miss the opportunity to arrest and convict perpetrators because we don't have these samples available to us."

This will also help exonerate individuals who have previously been wrongfully convicted, he said.

"Expansion of the DNA databank will provide law enforcement with a powerful tool to close thousands of unsolved cases, provide justice for victims, exonerate innocent people, and aid in the prevention of future crimes," said state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean.

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 also support the DNA databank expansion bill (S.5560A).

"Last year, I supported legislation that was approved with strong bi-partisan support in the Senate and was endorsed by district attorneys and crime victims' advocates across the state,'' Sen. Young said. "Now it's time for the state Assembly to join with us in taking action so this measure becomes law and this state can help solve more crimes and keep dangerous criminals off the street. I strongly believe this legislation will overwhelming pass if the Speaker of the Assembly allows it to come to the floor," Senator Young said.

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