Includes the division of forensic services of the Nassau county medical examiner's office in the definition of "qualified agencies".
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to extending access to criminal information
PURPOSE: To permit the Nassau County Medical Examiner's office, when acting within the scope of its law enforcement duties, to access information contained in the Division of Criminal Justice Services' databases, including but not limited to criminal records, personal appearance data, fingerprints, photographs, and handwriting samples.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill adds the Nassau County Medical Examiner's Office, when acting within the scope of its law enforcement duties, to the definition of "qualified agencies" under §835, subsection 9 of Executive Law.
Section 2 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Executive Law §835, subsection 9 currently contains the list of all agencies qualified for purposes of Article 35 of the Executive Law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
JUSTIFICATION: In the past decade, the expansion, advancement, and use of forensic science has become critically important to all law enforcement agencies and to public safety in New York State. In 1994, New York State created the New York State Commission on Forensic Science to ensure consistency and integrity in forensic sciences. Article 49-B of the Executive Law provides that the Commission shall develop minimum standards and a program of accreditation for all forensic laboratories in NYS, including establishing minimum qualification for forensic laboratory directors and such other personnel as the Commission may determine to be necessary and appropriate of forensic laboratories for the performance of specific forensic methodologies. The minimum standards and program of accreditation shall be designed to accomplish the following objectives:
1. Increase and maintain the effectiveness, efficiency, reliability, and accuracy of forensic laboratories;
2. Ensure that forensic analyses are performed in accordance with the highest scientific standards practicable; and
3. Promote increased cooperation and coordination among forensic laboratories and other agencies in the criminal justice system.
It is important to note that Executive Law §835 was drafted and passed when forensic services, particularly latent print comparisons, were exclusively performed by police agencies. However, the ability of the Nassau County Forensic Evidence Bureau, which is part of the police
department, was recently called into question. Thus, all lab work, including latents, is going to be transferred to a new lab under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner's Office. The Nassau County Medical Examiner's Office is in the process of seeking provisional accreditation from the NYS Commission on Forensic Science in order to be able to conduct latent print analysis in the laboratory.
Currently, the Medical Examiner's Office is unable to access the SABIS system in order to conduct latent print comparisons since it is not included within the definition of a "qualified agency" under Executive Law §835(9). The exclusion of the Medical Examiner's Office from this definition results in its inability to access databases maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, including criminal records, personal appearance data, fingerprints, photographs, and handwriting samples.
By specifically including the Nassau County Medical Examiner's Office, when acting with the scope of its law enforcement duties, in the definition of "qualified agencies", the Office would have access to additional information that would enable it to assist law enforcement agencies in the administration of justice in Nassau County.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6280 IN SENATE January 19, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. FUSCHILLO, MARCELLINO, MARTINS, SKELOS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to extending access to criminal information THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 9 of section 835 of the executive law, as amended by section 102 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011 and as further amended by section 104 of part A of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 9. "Qualified agencies" means courts in the unified court system, the administrative board of the judicial conference, probation departments, sheriffs' offices, district attorneys' offices, the state department of corrections and community supervision, the department of correction of any municipality, the insurance frauds bureau of the state department of financial services, the office of professional medical conduct of the state department of health for the purposes of section two hundred thir- ty of the public health law, the child protective services unit of a local social services district when conducting an investigation pursuant to subdivision six of section four hundred twenty-four of the social services law, the office of Medicaid inspector general, the temporary state commission of investigation, the criminal investigations bureau of the department of financial services, police forces and departments having responsibility for enforcement of the general criminal laws of the state
[and], the Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences Labo- ratory when acting within the scope of its law enforcement duties AND THE NASSAU COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE WHEN ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF ITS LAW ENFORCEMENT DUTIES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13868-01-2