ALBANY -- Legislation to expand the state's DNA database should include additional measures to protect against wrongful convictions, advocates said Monday.

The Innocence Project and New York State Bar Association support Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to take DNA samples from all people convicted of crimes, but said at a news conference that the expanded database alone isn't enough to prevent innocent people from going to jail while real perpetrators remain at large.

"There is no question that an expansion of the DNA database will have some negligible impact on public safety, but it will have almost no impact at all on eliminating wrongful convictions," said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, an organization affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law that helps exonerate people convicted of crimes they didn't commit.

Neufeld said that only about 10 percent of violent crimes can be solved using DNA evidence, which means that most crimes will be solved with other techniques, including those that have led to wrongful convictions.

The groups called for the videotaping of interrogations to prevent coerced confessions, changes to line-up procedures so officers can't influence witnesses, strengthening laws requiring district attorneys to turn over evidence to the defense, and permitting defendants who plead guilty to a crime to obtain DNA tests that could prove their innocence.

Assemb. Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) said many of those proposals have been sought for years without success. "If we don't have DNA expansion to help us get these measures passed, there's little hope of getting them in the future," Lentol said.

The Republican-led Senate has already passed a bill to expand the DNA database. Last week Cuomo told reporters the DNA bill should not be used to debate other measures.


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