January 25, 2006
Digest: Whether a judge may order defendants to provide DNA specimens in cases not specified by a statute mandating the submission of DNA specimens for certain specified offenses, is a question of law outside the authority of this Committee to address.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 101.1; Opinions 94-112 (Vol. XIII); 94-79 (Vol. XII); 88-116 (Vol. II).
A statute which provides for the collection of a DNA specimen from defendants convicted of certain criminal offenses was amended to require specimens in several additional offenses. A judge who presides over criminal matters was notified by the District Attorney that, in addition to those offenses now specified in the statute, the District Attorney intends to require, as a condition of negotiated plea agreements, the taking of DNA samples in several additional offenses.
The judge inquires whether it is ethically proper for the court to require a DNA specimen in cases involving pleas to offenses not specified in that statute.
The authority of this Committee is limited to questions of judicial ethics. 22 NYCRR 101.1. This inquiry does not present an issue of judicial ethics, but rather a question of law. It is therefore outside the purview of this Committee’s authority to address. Opinions 94-112 (Vol. XIII); 94-79 (Vol. XII); 88-116 (Vol. II).