More than a dozen pieces of legislation have been introduced in the State Legislature's current session that, if signed into law, would expand the state's DNA databank.

The bills aim to solve cold cases like the one involving a former Long Island resident suspected last week of being a serial killer. Some of the legislation also seeks to expand DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convicted.

The bills offer expansions of the databank that Westchester County authorities said was used to match the DNA of Francisco Acevedo, 41, to the slayings of three women in Yonkers starting in 1989.

Suffolk police arrested Acevedo on charges of drunken driving on Jan. 26, 2009, in Brentwood. Acevedo's DNA was collected last year while he was serving a prison sentence upstate, the results of multiple felony drunken-driving convictions.

His DNA produced a match in the state's DNA databank, which in 2004 established a DNA link among the three murder victims through biological evidence, Westchester prosecutors said. He faces multiple counts of first- and second-degree murder.

State law now requires DNA to be collected from convicted felons and those convicted of one of 18 specified misdemeanors, including petty larceny. The state captures DNA samples from 46 percent of all convictions, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

In Albany, one bill sponsored by State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) would require DNA samples to be taken from every person arrested on suspicion of either a felony or a misdemeanor.

In a telephone interview Saturday, Skelos called the Acevedo case a good example of the type of crimes that could be solved if the state's DNA database were expanded.

"It's toward the goal of solving cold cases," Skelos said. "You could potentially solve crimes going back 20, 30 years."

A few years ago, the Republican-controlled State Senate passed a bill expanding the charges for which a person would have to submit a DNA sample, but the legislation failed to pass the Democratic-led Assembly, Skelos said.

When asked if he had any privacy concerns about taking DNA from more defendants in New York's criminal justice system, Skelos said, "No. Public protection."

Jennifer Carnig, a spokeswoman for the New York Civil Liberties Union, declined to comment on legislation that would expand the state DNA database.

But in 2007, when a previous attempt to expand the database was debated in Albany, Robert Perry, the state ACLU's legislative director, testified before the state Assembly Committee on Codes and the Committee on Corrections that DNA analysis wasn't "infallible" and an expansion of the database could expand errors and abuse.

"No legislation should be advanced regarding the DNA database until all laboratories are in compliance with state and federal laws," Perry testified. "State law fails to recognize that in order to ensure the integrity of DNA laboratories, they must be independent of undue influence by law enforcement and other state agencies."

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