New York is poised to become the first state in the nation to require people convicted of any crime, no matter how minor, to provide DNA samples for a database. The state's lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the measure, which would double the size of New York's DNA database, reports the New York Times. Supporters—including all 62 of the state's district attorneys—say the move will catch more violent offenders and exonerate more innocent people.
"Every single time we’ve expanded the DNA database, we have shown how effective it is in convicting people who commit crimes, and we’ve also shown that it can be used to exonerate the innocent,” the chief of the Citizens Crime Commission says. The legislation would allow both prosecutors and defense lawyers to access the database. Some lawmakers are seeking to add a measure to the bill that would make it a violation, not a crime, to possess very small amounts of marijuana in public. Click for more on a state with a serious wrongful-conviction problem. (Read more New York City stories.)