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Pataki Administration Pushes DNA Data Bank Bill

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – New York State's director of Criminal Justice is crisscrossing the state urging passage of an All Crimes DNA bill as a crime fighting tool.

Chauncey Parker appeared at Buffalo Police headquarters Wednesday. He wants local law enforcement leaders to call on the State Assembly to approve the creation of a DNA Data Bank. The All Crimes DNA bill would require a DNA sample from anyone convicted of a crime.

"If we had an All Crimes DNA Data bank in New York State, we would literally solve and prevent thousands and thousands of crimes. We would exonerate people and bring justice to crime victims," said Parker.

Right now, the state is only allowed to collect DNA samples from one in seven convicted criminals. That compares to 43 other states that require it from ALL convicted felons.

"New York State is so far behind the rest of the country in this area. We use to be the leader when it came to DNA. But it has been logged jammed in the Assembly by the leader and not allowed to be brought up for a vote," Parker said.

You will get no argument from Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark that a DNA data bank would make a big difference in fighting crime.

"How many crimes are going to go unsolved? How many people are going to be raped, injured and even killed until we come to the realization that this is something we need?" said Clark.

For the last seven years, this bill was past by the Senate. But it has never even surfaced in the Assembly for a vote. Parker says the Assembly leadership has refuses to let members vote on it. He says reason range from a capacity issue to violating civil liberties.

"They are running around scaring people, thinking we are going to violate peoples civil liberties. That people walking on the street would have to give a DNA sample, that someone in a hospital would have to give a DNA sample. That is just designed to care and confuse people," said Parker.

Governor Pataki has provided $20 million in this year's budget to make sure State police are able to buy the needed equipment and staff a DNA lab. Law enforcement says collecting DNA after a first conviction could prevent repeat crimes of rapes, murders and child molestaton.

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