Not Everyone's Happy With New State DNA Law


For law enforcement agencies, investigating crimes can be the toughest part of the job.

"The evidence that we can obtain may point us toward the direction of the suspect, but maybe we don't have enough to arrest," said Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns.

Now, catching criminals in New York state will be easier.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law to expand the state's DNA data bank.

Now, New York is the first state in the country to require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or penal law misdemeanor.

There is an exception for first-time offenders possessing a small amount of marijuana.

"We're going to be able to use that in conjunction with other evidence that we get and be able to arrest and prosecute offenders," Burns said.

While law enforcement agencies are praising the measure, other groups are speaking out.

"DNA technology offers a whole lot of promise and a whole lot of pitfalls," said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York Civil Liberties Union disagrees with the expansion, saying there are too many possibilities for falsifying test results and for human error in handling samples.

"This is being done without any safeguards that are desperately necessary to avoid negligence, fraud and abuse," Lieberman said.

Despite what the critics say, the measure is expected to help defenders and the innocent, too, as they will have expanded access to use DNA to prove innocence.

Thursday, December 8, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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