New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have agreed to expand the mandatory collection of DNA samples to include both felons AND those convicted of misdemeanors. New York will be the first and only state to demand such samples from those convicted of petty crimes.
The bill Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to sign passed overnight Wednesday in the Legislature. It would require collecting a saliva swab from everyone convicted of any felony and all but one misdemeanor statewide starting Oct. 1. The legislation would also expand defense access to the databank in efforts to exonerate suspects through pretrial discovery and post-conviction applications to judges. “I think it will do what I describe as serve as both a sword and a shield,” said Sen. Stephen Saland, a Poughkeepsie Republican and sponsor. “It will enable gathering more DNA for purposes of apprehending more people. It will provide, I believe, for greater public safety.” He said it would also clear some criminal suspects. All states take DNA from most felons and most also get samples from people convicted of misdemeanor sex crimes.
Shoplifters, turnstyle-jumpers, and pot smokers: OPEN WIDE.