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Legislative Leaders Tentatively Agree to Expand DNA Data Bank

By Mark Scott (assisted by Associated Press)

Albany, NY – Legislative leaders reached a tentative compromise late Tuesday to expand the state's DNA database to solve crimes and catch criminals after tempers erupted in the Capitol.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver accused Governor George Pataki of playing to a presidential electorate with his proposal to vastly expand the existing DNA database.

"The governor can govern by press conference and sound bite all he wants, and probably will a lot more in Iowa and New Hampshire as well," Silver said at a news conference, referring to Pataki's recent trips to the key presidential primary states.

"That is just despicable," Pataki said of Silver.

Hours later, legislative leaders tentatively agreed to a compromise between Pataki's call to take genetic samples after every felony and misdemeanor conviction and the Assembly's version that would include felonies and a dozen of the most severe misdemeanors.

The tentative deal would include all felonies and 17 misdemeanors including the most common entry level crime of petit larceny.

Tuesday night's tentative agreement would also end the statute of limitations on rape and other sex crime felonies.

Last week, Pataki's Criminal Justice Chief, Chauncey Parker, met with local law enforcement officials in Buffalo to push for the expanded DNA Data Bank.

"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.