With a few flicks of his pen, Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning signed off on a new law that makes being too loud in church — and various other supposed “crimes” — a criminal offense that will land an offender’s DNA on a government database.
The new statute, Cuomo’s “All Crimes DNA” law, is the first of its kind in the entire country. Under the new law, anyone convicted of a felony, or penal law misdemeanor, has to hand their DNA over to the government so it can be added to a database with the DNA with other criminals.
The goal, obviously, is to get as much DNA in the government’s hands as possible so
it’s easier for authorities to solve crimes where there’s DNA evidence.
The problem, however, is that it’s a bit big brother-y —
especially when you consider some of the crimes that could now give the
government the right to your DNA.
Last week we looked at all of the state’s penal code misdemeanors. What
we discovered is that crimes like being too loud in church, adultery,
and fortune telling will now get your DNA into the state’s database.
See some of the other crimes that will now give the government the right to your genetic fingerprint here.
Civil rights groups argue that the law goes too far, and that it opens
the door for potential error and fraud at state crime labs. Cuomo — as well as
legislative leaders and district attorneys, including Manattan DA Cyrus
Vance — are lovin’ the new law.
“I am proud to sign this bill today because this modern law enforcement
tool will not only help us solve and prevent crimes but also exonerate
the innocent,” Cuomo, who calls the law a “centerpiece” of his 2012
legislative agenda, says.
As for that part about exonerating the innocent…
As the Voice also noted last week, the New York state Bar
Association and the Innocence Project say the state ranks third in the
nation in wrongful convictions.
The Innocence Project, a non-profit that uses DNA evidence to try to
exonerate those wrongfully convicted, says Cuomo’s new law doesn’t
include certain measures that would help clear the innocent, like
requiring police to videotape interrogations, and giving defendants the
right to obtain DNA evidence even after they have pleaded guilty to a
More on that here.
In any event, going forward, you might want to pipe down while attending
mass, and keep the fortune telling to a minimum…big brother’s