Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paterson seeks to expand DNA database

Governor Paterson wants to expand the collection of DNA to those arrested for misdemeanors and all sex offenders and juvenile offenders. Not surprisingly, privacy groups such as the the ACLU are outraged. However, crime victims groups and law enforcement are behind the new legislation:

Richard Aborn, President of the Citizens Crime Commission, said: “To not require convicted criminals to provide a DNA sample in this day and age is like not bothering to fingerprint them. We know that criminals often commit non-violent crimes before they commit violent crimes. Collecting DNA from all convicted criminals can help deter future violent acts – and exonerate someone who is wrongly convicted or suspected of a crime, as well.”

I have to rule against privacy rights in this instance. Look at the case of the Bike Path Killer, Altemio Sanchez. He was arrested twice for soliciting prostitutes in the 1990s. Had his DNA been collected for that, he would have been caught much sooner than he was. The point about exonerating those in jail is also a good one. You have to wonder how many innocent people have spent their whole lives in jail before DNA evidence became popular. How many times have we seen rape victims or other crime victims point to the wrong person when DNA evidence is unavaillable? Often times, the person thrown in jail is just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite having a large scar on his forehead and never being accused of a crime against any woman, Anthony Cappozzi was arrested for several rapes because he was seen walking in Delaware Park. Officer Bill Buyers wanted to look like a hero. Never mind the fact that the evidence suggested Cappozzi was incapable of committing such a crime.

Paterson seeks to expand DNA database - Capitol Confidential


  1. Would it be worthwhile to explain to Mr. Aborn that the legislation in question is about arrestees? Depending to the nature of the crime and location, convicted criminals are already compelled to submit samples for databasing purposes. Or perhaps to his way of thinking making any distinction between guilt and innocence is wasted effort.

  2. You are right. Obviously, that's an important distinction. Sometimes, I think innocent until proven guilty gets overlooked in the media. It should be taken after conviction of a crime, not after merely being accused.