NY Senate passes DNA testing expansion bill

The DNA Databank Expansion Bill cleared its first hurdle today when the state Senate approved legislation that would require all those convicted on Penal Law crimes, including misdemeanors, to submit their DNA to the state databank. Currently, convicted felons and those convicted of about three dozen specific misdemeanors must give a DNA sample to authorities, typically a cheek swab. The bill would cover convictions of all charges, expect for misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and other traffic misdemeanors.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a written statement, called the bill “an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state’s criminal justice system. This critical crime fighting resource embraces technology to help protect the innocent and convict the guilty.”

Cuomo urged the state Assembly to pass the bill so he could sign it into law immediately.

SCOTUS: Constitution doesn’t guarantee DNA tests

Big ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court today: The Justices, in a 5-4 decision, declared that the U.S. Constitution does not give convicts the right to test DNA evidence to prove their innocence years after they’re found guilty.

This is a defeat for groups such as the Innocence Project, but it may not have a huge impact on the status quo because all but 4 states have laws on the books allowing convicts to have some access to DNA tests.

Click here to read the full story from the Associated Press.

Click here to read the majority opinion from SCOTUS