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New York law may take dna from all criminals

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New York Gov. David Paterson has proposed plans to double New York's DNA database to include samples from low-level offenders.

The law, if put into practise, will make the database the first in the United States to use the results of DNA testing so broadly.

New York's law would see nearly 48,000 DNA samples being added to the laboratory system, but state officials say they are more than capable of handling the extra work.

Sean Byrne, acting commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services told the Associated Press: "You'd think it'd be a huge explosion, but we have samples on so many people that recommit crimes already."

The state's DNA database first started in 1996, when it held genetic material from killers and sex predators. Since then it has been expanded three times and now holds 356,000 samples from people convicted of felonies and other misdemeanours.

The governor's plan have been backed by a law school centre which are involved in using DNA evidence to reverse wrongful convictions. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union have voiced concerns about protection and privacy rights.

Joseph Pollini a retired cold case detective of the New York Police Department said that requiring all criminals to submit DNA would be a be of great benefit to the police, because they find that most of those arrested committed smaller offences before turning to major crime.

Gov. David Paterson added: "DNA is the most powerful tool ever discovered to solve crimes, prevent crimes and exonerate the innocent, but remarkably in New York State we are still collecting DNA from only 46 per cent of the criminals convicted."

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