Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced today that the SFY 2009-2010 budget restores $16 million in proposed cuts that would have reduced the funding of the Offices of City Medical Examiners, which would have in turn resulted in dramatic delays in critical daily operations.
City Medical Examiners statewide protested these cuts, saying the reduction would force office closures and increase the amount of time it would take for autopsy reports and death certificates to be processed. In New York City, the officers of the Office of the City Medical Examiner said they would have to close borough offices and require families to travel to Manhattan to identify deceased loved ones.
"Allowing the proposed cuts to go through would have burdened families during their most difficult moments, after the loss of a loved one," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "We could not permit these disruptions in services, which would have greatly impacted the office's ability to meet the needs of those whose religious beliefs require expeditious burial of remains."
"Medical examiners are crucial to criminal cases, with their findings often contributing to DNA profiles. Cuts of this magnitude would have slowed DNA testing turnaround time by 40 percent, slowing progress in the investigations of rape and homicide cases," Silver added. "That backlog would be unacceptable."