Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s job would be a hell of a lot easier if he had at his disposal the DNA of every person on the planet. But he doesn’t, so the DNA of convicted criminals will have to do — even if those “criminals” are convicted of things like fortune telling, adultery, and being loud in church.
Vance today announced the sentencing of a man who sexually assaulted a woman during a robbery in her East Village apartment in 2008. During the attack, the woman bit her attacker, 39-year-old Greg Poirier, leaving traces of his blood in the apartment.
The DNA was recovered by investigators and entered into the state’s DNA databank, but didn’t match any DNA profiles on file. So, the case remained unsolved — until Poirier struck again, that is.
Poirier was convicted in 2009 of a different sexually motivated burglary, which landed his DNA in the state’s database.
Vance’s Cold Case Unit has been systematically reviewing about 3,000 unsolved crimes since he took office in 2010. A recent review of the 2008 sexual assault led investigators back to the DNA database — where Poirier’s DNA is now on file — which led to his conviction. He was sentenced today to 25 years in prison.
In announcing Poirier’s sentencing, Vance touted the recently enacted “All Crimes DNA” law, which went into effect last week, and gives law enforcement the authority to collect the DNA of anyone convicted of any crime (with the exception of first-time convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana).
Previously, only convicted felons had to turn their DNA over to the government.
“Just days after the All Crimes DNA law went into effect, this sentence serves as a reminder of the importance of the DNA databank in bringing closure to victims of unsolved crimes,” Vance says. “The law, which requires DNA samples from virtually every convicted criminal, further expands the DNA databank, giving my Office the tools it needs to prosecute criminals and exonerate the innocent.”
The new law is a great tool for law enforcement, but it’s a little big brother-y when you consider some of the “crimes” that could land a person’s DNA on the state’s list — as we mentioned, fortune telling, cheating on your spouse, and being loud in church are all “crimes” that could potentially give the government the right to your DNA.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 6, 2012