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Paterson wants low-level criminals' DNA in database

ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson has proposed roughly doubling New York's DNA database to include samples from even low-level offenders, making it the first in the nation to so broadly collect and use that evidence to solve crimes and exonerate people wrongly convicted.

The law would require adding about 48,000 samples a year to a laboratory system that state officials say is capable of handling the extra work.

"You think it'd be a huge explosion, but we have samples on so many people that recommit crimes already - it's the old rule of criminals don't specialize," said Sean Byrne of the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Paterson's plan is supported in efforts nationwide to use DNA evidence to reverse wrongful convictions. But the New York Civil Liberties Union has concerns about privacy rights and urges further study. - AP

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