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NY Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the leave-your-swab-at-the-door dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "If Governor David Paterson has his way, New York would take DNA samples from even the lowest level of criminal, doubling the state's DNA database. He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted. New York would become the first state in the country to do this. Currently DNA isn't collected in most misdemeanors. The plan is getting lots of support among law enforcement, but the New York Civil Liberties Union says there are questions about privacy."
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NY Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database

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  • NYC Governor? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:55PM (#32672312) Homepage Journal

    I mean shit, yes, the city of NY would like to pretend they're the whole state, but there's like, a lot more than NYC...

    • by XPeter (1429763)

      As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

      • Re:NYC Governor? (Score:4, Informative)

        by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23PM (#32672542)

        As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

        New York city has some great things, but they're merely the occasional nut in the turd that is the main course. Have you ever seen a sitcom on TV? Most of them take place in New York, and most of them feature annoying, self-absorbed douche bags like Ted Mosby.

        • Yes, because we should really base our understanding of what people in a certain place are like from crappy sitcoms...

        • I think corn is more apropos. Not that there aren't any nuts in NYC. It's just that NYC seems to be able to go through the whole digestive process of politics and still remain annoyingly unchanged.
        • most of them feature annoying, self-absorbed douche bags like Ted Mosby.

          So you're saying these shows are a fair representation of the people in the city? :)
      • Re:NYC Governor? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:01PM (#32672816)

        As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

        In most states - and in most counties - the biggest city never remains the capital.

        It ignites too many old rivalries and suspicions: Rural vs Urban.

        City vs City.

        Inland vs Coastal. Manufacturing vs Trade.

        Albany was the crossroads:

        The Mohawk, the route of the Erie Canal, West.

        North, Lake Champagne, northern New England and Canada. South, the Hudson and New York City.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        For the sake of sanity?

        Honestly, and I say this as a guy who regularly visits NYC should be in it's own state or maybe with Jersey.

        • by JDevers (83155)

          The few times I've visited, I've thought Newark up and over to southern Connecticut should be its own COUNTRY...

    • Little surprise us folks from the other 54,000 square miles of New York hate those provincial louts from the city.
      • by legojenn (462946)

        I thought that the provincial louts live north of NY State in the Province of Quebec and the Province of Ontario....just sayin'/

    • I mean shit, yes, the city of NY would like to pretend they're the whole state, but there's like, a lot more than NYC...

      I figured he'd finally been run out of office for massive corruption and found a new gig down South.

    • by skine (1524819)

      New York City contains about 8 million people.

      New York State contains about 20 million people.

      • by skine (1524819)

        New York County contains about 1.6 million people.

        • by russotto (537200)

          New York County contains about 1.6 million people

          New York County = Manhattan. And that's its population; I'd guess at any given time it likely actually has far more people within it.

  • by gig (78408) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:00PM (#32672350)

    If this happens, what will follow is a crackdown on jaywalking and other everybody crimes so that the database becomes universal. They'll be taking DNA at traffic stops.

    • by causality (777677) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:12PM (#32672454)

      If this happens, what will follow is a crackdown on jaywalking and other everybody crimes so that the database becomes universal. They'll be taking DNA at traffic stops.

      That's quite predictable but a lot of (naive) people will be very surprised when it happens. Maybe they can get over their surprise long enough to consider what this tells them about the nature and intentions of the people who are pushing for these kinds of laws. This whole scenario reminds me of an entry from my quotations file:

      The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
      -- H. L. Mencken

      This is a bit like the War on (some) Drugs. Observation: a government has very little power over those who break no laws. Therefore, if you want to expand the police power of government, you need more laws. If there aren't enough criminals, you make crimes of things that are not crimes to produce some more. If there are plenty of criminals, or if that option isn't realistic, then you increasingly treat very minor crimes the same way you handle serious crimes. It seems New York is going with that latter option.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        The thing about the "slippery slope" fallacy, is that it's most often derided as fallacy by people with a brush in one hand and a can of "slope grease" in the other...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The thing is, "slippery slope", per se, is not a fallacy. The so-called "slippery slope fallacy" refers to calling something a slippery slope when it isn't. It has nothing to do with the existence of real slippery slopes.
      • Nah, that's behind the times. If you pay attention today, you can see that they have been passing (and trying to pass) many laws directly against you and me; the hell with the scoundrels.
    • by SpecBear (769433) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:25PM (#32672570)

      Actually, it's even worse than having a universal database. The database will largely exclude the people who create and enforce the law, along with those they favor.

      If the DNA database were universal the legislators and their friends and families would also be included. That would dramatically increase the chance that there would be meaningful limitations on how the data was used.

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:47PM (#32672730) Homepage

      If police can gain an advantage by enforcing laws against minor and/or discretionary offenses, you can be sure they will take full advantage by enforcing such laws more often. It's been known to happen, and it will happen again if this abominable bill is turned into law.

    • This is New York. An officer can be standing on a corner, look a jaywalker in the eye and will wish him a pleasant day before considering living up to his oath.

    • If this happens, what will follow is a crackdown on jaywalking and other everybody crimes

      Oh, so New York will be following Seattle's lead, you say? Not sure how that will go over, because even in NYC cops don't generally like punching girls in the face. Maybe the fuzz in Rochester, Jamestown, Oswego, and Saratoga Springs have more time on their hands and are in need of more fights.
    • by physburn (1095481)
      Or taking DNA, for parking violation. Is there anyone whose never run a foul of some minor law? Only saints are unafraid.

      ---

      Law and Order [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • by Nichotin (794369) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:06PM (#32672404)
    While there are some very clear benefits of using DNA as evidence in some cases, it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people. Leaving false DNA evidence is much easier than copying someones fingerprints. A couple of kilos of cocaine planted in someones apartment, with a piece of hair, can in some jurisdictions land people in jail for a long time. It is somewhat the same dillemma with electronic evidence. Some real criminals are caught using historic location data or credit card date. At the same time, if you are well aware that this sort of evidence is taken seriously, you can also use it to create your own alibis which can make investigators rule you out as a suspect in the first place.

    This is just a concern regarding the part about "He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted.", because I think someone might be wrongly convicted BECAUSE of the new use of DNA evidence. I don't really like the idea that you should collect DNA because of small crime in the first place, and even though there might be some benefits, this certainly weighs against (even though some might be found innocent).
    • by Compholio (770966) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:21PM (#32672530)

      While there are some very clear benefits of using DNA as evidence in some cases, it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people.

      Yeah, just wait until the crooks catch up and start using DNA synthesis to frame people without even having access to their DNA (or just sufficiently contaminating a crime scene to make DNA evidence useless). You may not be able to recreate someone's entire DNA, but you can recreate enough of it to fool the "fingerprint" in the database.

    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:26PM (#32672576)

      I don't think the important issue is whether the data is collected, but how it can be used. For example if law enforcement can try to match a sample from a crime scene against EVERY person in their database, you need a really low rate of false positives. Nationwide there are probably something like a million crimes committed each year (just guessing from the prison population). If you can match each against 300 million people in a database, that gives you 3x10^14 chances to make a mistake. We can't expect perfect justice, but even with a 1 in a 10 BILLION error rate, that is 30,000 false positives per year. Some of those will have enough other (weak) evidence to get convictions. Yet what jury wouldn't be convinced by a (true) claim that the chance of a false match is "only" one in 10 billion?

      Also, once the data exists, is (should?) the government be required to check everyone in prison against DNA evidence if it exists? Personally I think this is very desirable, but it would be very expensive.

      Also can the DNA evidence be used to predict tendencies to crime. This isn't practical yet, but we might in the future detect genetic markers that have correlation with types of criminal behaviour. Is it fair to say in court that the accused "has genetic markers that indicate a propensity to violence"?

      The final problem is that once DNA evidence is very common use, as the poster above mentions criminals will start to plane evidence. Murder someone - plant a few hairs that you collected from someone else. Framing someone becomes much easier.

      Juries need to understand that the existence of DNA evidence at a crime scene only shows that ....the person's DNA was at the crime scene - it doesn't say the person was there, or that they committed the crime.

      Many of these arguments apply to various other high tech information gathering.

      • That's a specious argument. If it is collected, it WILL be used. And if the law allows it to be used in an oppressive way, it WILL eventually be used that way. That's the way laws have always worked. Why should this be any different?
        • We give police guns, but don't allow them to randomly shoot people on the streets (it happens but is very rare). It is possible to control law enforcement - but I agree that it can be difficult.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)

      it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people. Leaving false DNA evidence is much easier than copying someones fingerprints.

      I would like to see some real-world examples.

      The frame you left behind may be carrying traces of your own DNA.

      Your victim now has every reason to spill the beans, expose everything he knows about your operation since the day your were expelled from My Darling Little Angels Day Care Center.

       

      • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:36PM (#32673018)

        I think there are a couple of reasons we haven't seen this yet (as far as I know). DNA evidence is most useful in violent crimes (doesn't help much with securities fraud). I expect violent crimes are in general perpetrated by less educated and less sophisticated criminals. (of course there are exceptions). Also, DNA evidence so far is mostly used as a back-up to other evidence. If it becomes more important I think we will see more faking / framing.

        Same argument applies to cell phone tracking. As this is used more by law enforcement I expect we will see various hacks on cell phones to mis-report locations, or to appear as a different phone.

  • by areusche (1297613) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:07PM (#32672410)

    Let's make New York City its own state. Heck throw in Long Island while you're at it.

    And while we're on the subject of Patterson let me repeat what I said earlier in a story about him involving the NBC and Comcast merger.

    I just don't think Governor Paterson sees the repercussions of this. Seriously he's blind to the blatant civil rights problems this will create.

    The ACLU needs to give him the cane for this.

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:09PM (#32672442)

    I'm sure Spitzer left quite a bit lying around.

  • Uh-oh... does this mean he wants more babies? For a geneticist, more babies is like ordering the Sampler Plate at Denny's.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:17PM (#32672504)

    How is this supposed to clear the wrongly convicted?

    If you are wrongly convicted, you wont have much issue providing your own DNA to get free.

    This has only a few applications:

    With current technology a matching genetic pattern can be generated. This would make a great tool for acquiring genetic patterns for the fabrication of evidence and false convictions.
    Even without such fabrication, genetic evidence can be abused to implicate someone that just happened to have passed through the location of a crime days, weeks or months before the event.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Psaakyrn (838406)

      It allows the law enforcement to skip the step of having to arrest you to get your DNA to test.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        And how does that do anything other than increase your chances of getting convicted (both wrongfully and rightfully)?

        • by Psaakyrn (838406)

          That's precisely what it does. Do note the topic states BOTH solving crimes (rightfully convicted) and clearing people who were wrongly convicted.

        • by Psaakyrn (838406)

          The point is to reduce wrongful convictions. Prevention is better than cure.

    • I was going to make this exact point if it hadn't already been made.

      So first they'll convict you, then they'll take your DNA and then prove that you didn't really do it? I'm sure you would have offered your DNA before.

      Or they'll find that the DNA evidence matches someone else's DNA to prove that you didn't do it? If the DNA evidence matches someone else then it doesn't match your DNA. No need to take anyone else's DNA to prove that.

      Sound like BS to make a bad idea sound better. Makes about as much sense as

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      How is this supposed to clear the wrongly convicted?

      If you are wrongly convicted, you wont have much issue providing your own DNA to get free.

      This has only a few applications:

      With current technology a matching genetic pattern can be generated. This would make a great tool for acquiring genetic patterns for the fabrication of evidence and false convictions. Even without such fabrication, genetic evidence can be abused to implicate someone that just happened to have passed through the location of a crime days, weeks or months before the event.

      The theory is that if the person that actually committed the crime has a DNA sample in the system already then you will never be convicted in the first place. Or if you have already been convicted and they later get a sample that matches, from the newly expanded reasons for taking a sample, you are set free. This has already happened several times in rape cases in California. The individual was convicted even though the DNA was not a match. Then years later they take a DNA sample on an unrelated case, it ma

    • It doesn't even require the fabrication of evidence to be bad. Considering the nature of current DNA matching procedures, the odds become fairly high that more than one individual in the database will match the DNA evidence.
  • by e9th (652576) <e9th@@@tupodex...com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23PM (#32672540)
    The U.S. House wants to collect DNA from people merely arrested. [cnet.com] And they'll pay the states to do it.
  • The tracking of phones should give US readers some ideas of how this will be used.
    http://tinyurl.com/y9lh6wq [tinyurl.com] [www.nydailynews.com]
    A suspect's cell phone battery is removed to avoid leakage, exposing the International Mobile Equipment Identity number to be noted down.
    Also recall how the system seems to work in the UK
    "Police arresting people "just for the DNA""
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AN1FA20091124 [reuters.com]
  • Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mooingyak (720677)

      Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

      If I get a cut and bleed somewhere, having my name or address on file doesn't tell you I was there. Having my DNA does.

    • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:39PM (#32672682) Homepage

      Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

      - It uniquely identifies a person.
      - It may be used against that person in the future, even if the person was innocent at the time of collection.
      - It may require drawing blood. Some people are very afraid of needles and should not be forced to submit to a blood test unless the person is to stand trial for a crime where drawing blood makes legal sense (as opposed to it just being something the government thinks would be nice to have).

      • by ArcadeNut (85398)

        Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

        - It uniquely identifies a person.
        - It may be used against that person in the future, even if the person was innocent at the time of collection.

        You mean like, oh.. I don't know... Fingerprints?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Adrian Lopez (2615)

          You mean like, oh.. I don't know... Fingerprints?

          GP didn't ask how it was different from fingerprints. Having said that, DNA conveys information that fingerprints do not. Fingerprints can't be matched against your relatives, nor do they reveal information about a person's genetic makeup. Finally, fingerprint collection is less invasive than DNA collection, especially when DNA is obtained via needles.

          • by ArcadeNut (85398)

            Yeah, that's maybe why I was only responding to the quoted part?

            Both of those points are moot because you can use finger prints in the same way, and no one seems to have a problem with those...

      • by berzerke (319205) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:56PM (#32673140) Homepage

        ...It may require drawing blood...

        The collections (real-life) I've seen don't need blood. They just swab the inside of your mouth.

        • The collections (real-life) I've seen don't need blood. They just swab the inside of your mouth.

          Cheek swabs are certainly an option, but that doesn't rule out the drawing of blood as an alternative (possibly at the arresting officer's discretion) unless it's explicitly forbidden by law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by steelfood (895457)

        You forget the important thing: It moves with the person, and independently of the person.

        Someone mentioned it's like a fingerprint. A clean fingerprint can place someone at a certain location with a high degree of accuracy.

        DNA cannot do even that, except under very specific circumstances. Despite it being treated as direct evidence by law enforcement, it's circumstantial evidence at best.

      • It uniquely identifies a person.

        Except that the DNA tests currently used to identify an individual from samples collected at the scene of a crime do not uniquely identify an individual. DNA tests, except in a very limited number of crimes (such as certain rapes), do not provide a good basis for conviction (although they may provide a good basis for exoneration).

    • by netruner (588721) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:47PM (#32672736)
      Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

      Those examples are just further up the slippery slope.
  • False Positives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:41PM (#32672694)
    The tests they do have a 99.9% success rate (if it's gone up or that was too optimistic, let me know, but that's last I saw). That means, once you collect DNA from everyone, each sample will hit on 30,000 Americans. So then, you have 30,000 people to sift through. It's good at taking a single person and comparing them against another with high reliability. But to search massive databases, you get too many hits. And then, you have to exclude 29,999 people to find the right one. Or, if you happen to be living nearby with no alibi, you may get convicted with nothing other than "your" DNA at the scene.

    So it isn't just about the privacy of your DNA, but the miscarriage of justice by people that don't understand statistics and zealous police and DAs who are in the habit of creating evidence to convict someone they "know" did it (or in the case of DAs, they don't know or care who did it, but their conviction rate requires a guilty verdict and is more important than justice).

    This is all just a symptom of a larger problem. The "justice" system is unrelated to justice and has become a punishment system where even those never convicted are punished in many ways (confiscation of money without any process at all, in direct violation of the Constitution, as long as they suspect that a drug user looked at it once). The government exists to serve us, and no, I don't mean serve us with warrants.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Actually, the false-positive rate is a lot lower than that. Just ask O.J. He had to impeach the collection and storage practices at the LA crime lab, and the integrity of every person in the chain of evidence, because if he couldn't do that, the 170-trillion-to-1 chance the DNA wasn't his was going to put him in the gas chamber.

    • Re:False Positives (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AusIV (950840) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:08PM (#32672848)

      If you collect DNA directly from two people you can pretty much be certain that the DNA comes from two different people, barring identical twins. I believe there are 13 markers used to identify DNA, and if all 13 markers are intact the odds of a match are astronomical. The problem comes when you collect DNA from a crime scene - which may have 7 of 13 markers in tact - and compare it to a database. In that case, chances are fairly high that you'll get a match.

      Prosecutors will go and tell a jury that the odds of a match are 1 in 1,000,000 (for example). In truth, this means the odds of any two people matching are 1 in 1,000,000, but they don't explain that the match was found using a database of 300,000, so the odds of finding a match were quite high. Unless the accused has a bullet proof alibi, they go down for the crime because juries don't understand statistics.

      • by PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:52PM (#32673110)
        Should I find myself in such a situation, do you think I can insist on my right to trial by a jury of my peers, where "my peers" are those who can understand basic probability and statistics?
        • by iroll (717924)

          Funny, but that's what professional witnesses are for: they often spend a lot of time teaching the jury how probability and statistics justify their opinion.

        • by VShael (62735)

          You can't even get a jury of your peers where your peers are people who understand jury nullification.

        • The right to a trial by jury of your "peers" doesn't exist in the American system. "A jury of your peers" refers to those who have a peerage--that is, lords--not being tried by commoners. We don't have a noble class in America, so the point is moot. Everybody in the country is your peer by definition, thus there is no language about your "peers" anywhere in the Constitution.

      • Prosecutors will go and tell a jury that the odds of a match are 1 in 1,000,000 (for example).

        Interesting points about false positive rates.

        Here's a thought experiment:
        How would prosecutors react if the law put their dna on file, too?
        Why not add in everybody who is involved: prosecutors, governor, representatives, judges, police, civil servants, lab techs, it staff...

        I like to think they would start having second thoughts about how swell of an idea it is. Since it has such a low error rate, what could they possibly complain about? I wonder if any of them would say, "Hmmm..." ?

        (For the record, this

    • by pongo000 (97357)

      The tests they do have a 99.9% success rate (if it's gone up or that was too optimistic, let me know, but that's last I saw).

      Knowing nothing about how DNA testing is done, how does the statement above reconcile with this case, [dallasnews.com] in which an expert witness testified that the odds of a false positive "are 1 in 2.69 quadrillion [dentonrc.com]"?

      • You misread that article. It wasn't an "expert witness" who said that the odds of a false positive are 1 in 2.69 quadrillion and it wasn't testimony. It was "Prosecutors", and all that means is that they don't know what they are talking about.
        So basically, it reconciles very easily: the prosecutors were talking out of their ass and trying to make it look like their case was better than it was.
        • by pongo000 (97357)

          From another source [dallasnews.com]:

          Also on Friday, a forensic biologist testifying for the prosecution, Angela Fitzwater, reiterated for the jury what prosecutors said in opening statements: that Bess was a match for the DNA found inside Samota. The chances that someone else was the contributor to the DNA is one in 2.69 quadrillion Caucasians, Fitzwater said, far more than the population of Earth.

          So there still seems to be some disagreement with some of what's being said here and what the experts are saying. Can somebody

  • ...Or has he balanced it already? Looks to me like he has his priorities misplaced. Am I wrong?

    • by blair1q (305137)

      So he's not allowed to do anything else until he balances the budget? No other government activity is to occur, until the budget for 2013 is complete and has a black number at the bottom? Is that how you want your legislature to work?

      Of course, your budget probably carries a fat debt load, too, but you don't see a blind governor bitching about that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        2013? We don't have a budget here in NY for THIS year. We're basically in a race with California to see who can shut down the gov't first.

  • and... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:08PM (#32672844)
    This is the reason we have the right to bare arms. My .45 will be empty before they get any samples off me.
    • Re:and... (Score:5, Funny)

      by nacturation (646836) * <[nacturation] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:49PM (#32673104) Journal

      This is the reason we have the right to bare arms. My .45 will be empty before they get any samples off me.

      Wouldn't you rather wear long sleeves? Having bare arms just makes it easier to take a DNA sample.

      • But you miss the cleverness - bare arms exposed to the sun are more likely to accumulate DNA damage (through sun burns, UV light blah blah). DNA damage would throw off the tests! For once, living underground/away from sunlight and developing no tan has its distinct advantages... Or would getting a sunburn be thought of tampering with potential evidence? (yes, I know they can get DNA samples elsewhere, it's a joke).

  • Problems are obvious (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darth Cider (320236) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:14PM (#32672884)

    Crooks can just salt the scene of the crime with DNA not their own.
     
    DNA tests are not quick, either - forget what you have seen on TV. The FBI backlog is overwhelming [propublica.org], as it is for State labs in most cities. DNA evidence collected at a crime scene is likely not to be analyzed before the trial date.
     
    New York City doesn't have the money to do this, anyhow. The cost would be exorbitant, even with a balanced budget.

    • by nbauman (624611)

      The FBI backlog is overwhelming, as it is for State labs in most cities. DNA evidence collected at a crime scene is likely not to be analyzed before the trial date.

      Doesn't New York City have a lot of DNA forensic equipment left over from testing all the body parts in 9/11?

      New York City doesn't have the money to do this, anyhow. The cost would be exorbitant, even with a balanced budget.

      Can't they get federal funds to help them?

  • by stimpleton (732392) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:24PM (#32672958)
    "He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted."

    uh-huh. Yeah, sure.

    Investigating Officer 1: Lets review this case investigation, with impending court charges against our suspect, just so we can, you know, get him off, if we, you know, fucked up.
    Investigating Officer 2: So we expose our ineptness, and corruption, and blow our case stats all at the same time?
    Investigating Officer 1: Meh, Its 5pm anyhoo. Couple jars down at the local?
  • Cost is to high to do it for all crimes!

  • For social order, we need tighter reins.
    Incarceration hasn't worked as a deterrent.
    I say we expand execution to include lesser crimes!

    Who would have thought a movie based upon a comic book that takes place in a city similar to NewYork would foresee something like this?

  • With the right genetic information on a convict the state could figure out how to quickly reduce the cost of a life sentence in prison...
  • by somenickname (1270442) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @11:12PM (#32673426)

    If I have the right to remain silent, do I also have the right to refuse giving my DNA away? IANAL but if I have the right to not speak so as to not incriminate myself, why wouldn't I also have the right to not have my blood drawn (or mucus swabbed) so as to not incriminate myself?

    I don't live in New York but, I'm often there. If an officer there wanted to take a sample of my DNA for an offense such as speeding, I'd refuse. If he persisted, I'd try to invoke Miranda Rights. If he persisted after that, I'd fight back as he tried to take the sample, recover for a few months in the hospital after he beat me senseless and then sue for police brutality. Essentially, that's what it's going to take to get this law overturned if it gets passed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The 5th is to protect against coerced confessions. Police already have wide latitude in doing things to your body and property, so a swab of the cheek is nothing. You will be tasered and your lawsuit will fail. Due to the inconvenience to drivers, however, the government will probably respond to citizens' concerns by just requiring DNA when you get your license--driving is a privilege, not a right after all.
    • by mdmkolbe (944892)

      It is settled law that the right to remain silent doesn't apply to your finger prints if they arrest you. I might not like it, but I think DNA would be treated the same way.

    • If I have the right to remain silent, do I also have the right to refuse giving my DNA away? IANAL but if I have the right to not speak so as to not incriminate myself, why wouldn't I also have the right to not have my blood drawn (or mucus swabbed) so as to not incriminate myself?

      I don't live in New York but, I'm often there. If an officer there wanted to take a sample of my DNA for an offense such as speeding, I'd refuse. If he persisted, I'd try to invoke Miranda Rights. If he persisted after that, I'd fight back as he tried to take the sample, recover for a few months in the hospital after he beat me senseless and then sue for police brutality. Essentially, that's what it's going to take to get this law overturned if it gets passed.

      How do ignorant comments like this get modded up to +5?

      First of all, since you describe an offense involving driving, you should know that the implied consent laws passed by the states requires that you give consent to brethalyzer, etc. It'd be trivial for the legislatures to add a DNA sample to the list. You can still refuse, but you'll lose your license.

      Second, the Supreme Court has held that the Fifth Amendment only applies to testimonial evidence. In Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966), the

  • Start with entrance into schools. Get DNA from everyone. Driver's license bureaus would be another good collection point.

  • Nightmare (Score:4, Informative)

    by dugeen (1224138) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:05AM (#32675182) Journal
    We had this nonsense introduced in the UK, with the result that the police were arresting people to take their DNA, then releasing them without charge. But their data wasn't deleted from the database. And as the police control the whole forensic process, it's an easy matter for them, once they've got the sample, to use it to contaminate any evidence they want. Vindicating people's innocence will NOT be one of the results of this proposal.
  • but it may also be used to frame the innocent.

    It is trivial to place DNA of someone you hate at the scene of a crime. Sure, DNA left in liquids are hard to fake but if you have a rape where a condom is used and the perpetrator doesn't leave blood, the crime scene guys will look for hairs and similar. And it's those that can be placed intentionally on the scene, framing somebody.

    There's also the accuracy of the tests. Here in little Denmark (5m people) we've already had a case where someone on file matched a

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