New York State Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle III commends state lawmakers and the Governor for expanding the DNA database while offering additional access for criminal defendants.

"The State Bar Association recognizes that DNA is a potent criminal justice tool. Based on a report from our Criminal Justice Section, we supported expanding the database," said Doyle of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo).

"We also are pleased that the bill would give criminal defendants greater access to the database before and after trial, and allow defendants other opportunities to prove their innocence after trial, measures we have endorsed.

"We continue to believe that a comprehensive approach to prevent wrongful convictions is needed.  DNA alone cannot guarantee that the innocent are exonerated and the guilty are convicted. Our 2009 report showed that human error can play a role in wrongful convictions," Doyle noted.

"That is why we call on the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to consider additional measures during the current legislative session. They include videotaping all custodial interrogations and changing the way police lineups are conducted.

"Such measures would complement the DNA expansion bill, improve public confidence in our justice system and enhance public safety. When the wrong person is incarcerated, the guilty person is free to commit additional crimes," Doyle said.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.


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