New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an expansion of the DNA database in his State of the State speech this month. His call would expand DNA collection to include all felony convictions and all penal law misdemeanors, expanding the DNA database which currently only collects samples for less than half of all criminal convictions in New York state.
Not surprisingly, both the District Attorney’s office and other law enforcement offices support this plan. But according to an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal, “civil libertarians oppose the legislation because they believe it would infringe on people’s rights and they don’t think there is enough oversight and quality control in the system.” While the focus of this proposed expansion seems to be that an expanded DNA database would allow for greater and more effective prosecution, the revelation of wrongful convictions that this would bring about was also mentioned. Read more here.
A week has passed without any movement on William Dillon’s Compensation Bill. The bill was passed by the Senate last week, and was read in the House last Tuesday but has made no progress since then. We’re hoping that the House will take up and pass this bill soon, to get Dillon the compensation owed to him.
Thomas E. Haynesworth of Richmond, VA, is facing a similar battle with obtaining the compensation that he expected after serving 27 years for a rape he did not commit. Haynesworth has received a proposal for a compensation package, one that could potentially be worth more than $800,000, but he was disappointed with this amount. In Virginia, exonorees are not entitled to compensation but must have that compensation approved by the General Assembly. They may receive up to $40,000 per year served in prison, but there is a cap of 20 years. So, Haynesworth cannot receive compensation for the full amount he time he spent as an innocent man in prison. While this situation is not ideal, Haynesworth is lucky at least to be dealing with this issue in Viginia, one of only 27 states that provides compensation to their exonorees. Read more here.