Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) today voted for legislation that eliminates the statute of limitations for rape and other violent sex crimes and increases the state DNA database. The bills have been a top priority for Assemblyman Fitzpatrick and his minority colleagues during the 2006 legislative session.
“This legislation helps ensure that New York will remain the safest large state in the country, while making Long Island a safer place to live for generations to come,” said Fitzpatrick. “I am pleased that the Assembly majority sided with the people of New York and helped pass this legislation.”
Assembly majority members have been pressured to pass this legislation by Assembly minority members, the state Senate, the attorney general, various citizen groups, law enforcement agencies and crime victims.
The legislation requires DNA samples to be taken from all convicted felons and individuals who commit any of 18 specified misdemeanors. The misdemeanors, including petit larceny, stalking and sex crimes, are part of the legislation because they are seen as “gateway” crimes. That is, individuals convicted of these crimes usually go on to commit more heinous crimes. The number of DNA samples from convicted criminals on the state database is expected to triple.
The bill eliminating the statute of limitations for rape and other violent sex offenses also extends the civil statute of limitations for sex crimes from a year to five years.
“The Assembly has strengthened the abilities of law enforcement agencies across the state to fight crime,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “We have also made it easier to prosecute rape and other violent sex crimes in New York.”
The measures have been sent to the governor for his review and his decision on whether to sign them into law.