Safe Horizon Supports Expansion of DNA Databank at Gov. Cuomo Press Conference
Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang joined Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy on February 14, 2012 to show support for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to expand the state’s DNA Databank, which will help solve more crimes, bring justice to victims and exonerate innocent New Yorkers. The All-Crimes DNA Bill would require DNA samples to be collected from anyone convicted of all remaining Penal Law misdemeanors and any felony under other state laws. If enacted, the Governor's proposal would take effect October 1, 2012, and it would not be retroactive. In addition, the proposal would not apply to children involved in Family Court matters or to youthful offenders.
Joining Zwang and Lieutenant Governor Duffy at the press conference were Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan and Brooklyn First Assistant District Attorney Anne Swern. Also in attendance were Elizabeth Glazer, New York State’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety; Susan Xenarios, director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center; Ann M., the mother of a rape survivor; Natasha Alexenko, a survivor of a violent crime and founder of Natasha’s Justice Project; and Tynetta Megginson, the daughter of a Bronx murder victim.
At Safe Horizon, the newly proposed law is a critical step to prevent future violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse.
"For many of our clients, an important part of the healing process is knowing that the person who harmed them has been brought to justice and that the right person has been convicted. The All Crimes DNA bill is a powerful tool in finding justice for survivors of crime, and in preventing our family members, friends and neighbors from experiencing violence, said Zwang. “On behalf of the 250,000 victims of crime and abuse whom we support each year, we urge the legislature to vote to expand New York's DNA Databank.”
The Databank was created in 1996. Since that time, DNA evidence has helped prosecutors solve more than 2,700 crimes and has helped exonerate 27 New Yorkers. The New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center in Albany can process 10,000 DNA samples from convicted offenders a month. The Governor's proposed expansion will bring the monthly total to less than 7,000 and will not create a backlog.
"When Governor Cuomo detailed his Executive Budget proposal last month, he unveiled the next steps in his plan to build a new New York," Lieutenant Governor Duffy said. "His plan to expand the state's DNA Databank will transform our criminal justice system. During my law enforcement career, I saw case after case where DNA evidence made a difference – excluding individuals from suspicion, identifying those responsible for crimes and giving victims closure and a measure of justice. I can't imagine why anyone would want to preclude such a powerful tool from being used to its fullest potential."
Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization and serves over 250,000 people each year who have been touched by violence. Whether we are responding to child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault or other violent crimes, Safe Horizon provides the practical tools, emotional support, education and advocacy to help victims and their families heal and rebuild their lives.