New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1835-2001    Version: * Name: Amend Criminal Procedure Law, DNA Testing
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services
On agenda: 4/17/2001
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to amend the Criminal Procedure Law to require that in criminal cases where the crime charged is punishable by the death penalty, the prosecuting entity, wherever applicable, perform DNA testing on any biological evidence sample recovered pursuant to the criminal investigation, provide the test results to the defendant and the court, and make such biological evidence sample available for DNA testing by the defendant, and calling for a moratorium on the carrying out of any pending death penalty sentence until individuals who are serving such a sentence are afforded the opportunity, wherever applicable, to retroactively apply any change in the law to their case.
Sponsors: Peter F. Vallone, Lawrence A. Warden, Martin Malave-Dilan, Sheldon S. Leffler, Guillermo Linares, Helen M. Marshall, Stanley E. Michels, Eva S. Moskowitz, Mary Pinkett, Alphonse Stabile, June M. Eisland, Kenneth K. Fisher, Wendell Foster, Julia Harrison, Jerome X. O'Donovan, Morton Povman, Annette M. Robinson, Michael C. Nelson
Council Member Sponsors: 18
Attachments: 1. Committee Report, 2. Hearing Transcript
Res. No. 1835 Title Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to amend the Criminal Procedure Law to require that in criminal cases where the crime charged is punishable by the death penalty, the prosecuting entity, wherever applicable, perform DNA testing on any biological evidence sample recovered pursuant to the criminal investigation, provide the test results to the defendant and the court, and make such biological evidence sample available for DNA testing by the defendant, and calling for a moratorium on the carrying out of any pending death penalty sentence until individuals who are serving such a sentence are afforded the opportunity, wherever applicable, to retroactively apply any change in the law to their case. Body By The Speaker (Council Member Vallone) and Council Members Warden, Malave-Dilan, Leffler, Linares, Marshall, Michels, Moskowitz, Pinkett and Stabile; also Council Members Eisland, Fisher, Foster, Harrison, O'Donovan, Povman Robinson and Nelson. Whereas, Deoxyribonucleic acid ("DNA") is a molecule that is present in every cell of the body that contains a nucleus and is the chemical dispatcher of genetic information; and Whereas, Advancements in DNA technology have made it possible to identify precise genetic markers from the smallest sample of biological evidence, including samples from saliva, hair follicles, blood, flesh, semen and sweat; and Whereas, Every individual has a unique DNA pattern, and therefore, the ability to recover biological sample evidence at a crime scene and match the DNA pattern of the sample with that of a suspect has been a revolutionary development in the field of law enforcement; and Whereas, Many law enforcement officials believe that DNA testing has become one of the most important crime-solving tools since the development of fingerprinting nearly a century ago; and Whereas, DNA testing has been used to exculpate criminal suspects and individuals who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, as well as to inculpate guilty individuals; and Whereas, It is essential that the citizens of New York have the utmost confidence in the certainty of capital crime convictions; and Whereas, In order to ensure such confidence, courts and jurors presiding over capital crime cases should have available to them every piece of evidence that modern technology allows, and defendants who face the possibility of the death penalty should be afforded the opportunity to have every recovered sample of biological evidence tested; and Whereas, This opportunity should also be made available to any person who is currently serving a death penalty sentence, as well as individuals currently charged with a capital offense; and Whereas, A moratorium should be placed on the carrying out of any pending death penalty sentence until individuals who are serving such a sentence are afforded the opportunity, wherever applicable, to retroactively apply any change in the law to their case; now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to amend the Criminal Procedure Law to require that in criminal cases where the crime charged is punishable by the death penalty, the prosecuting entity, wherever applicable, perform DNA testing on any biological evidence sample recovered pursuant to the criminal investigation, provide the test results to the defendant and the court, and make such biological evidence sample available for DNA testing by the defendant, and calling for a moratorium on the carrying out of any pending death penalty sentence until individuals who are serving such a sentence are afforded the opportunity, wherever applicable, to retroactively apply any change in the law to their case. LS #4093 04/12/01