S.T.O.P. Welcomes NY Court Ruling Allowing Teen Defendants To Expunge DNA Record

For Immediate Release
S.T.O.P. Welcomes NY Court Ruling Allowing Teen Defendants To Expunge DNA Record

(NEW YORK, NY, 5/28/2019) – Today, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), a New York-based privacy group, welcomed a New York State appeals court decision allowing teenagers to expunge records in the state’s DNA index system. The decision by the First Appellate Department applies to individuals given “youthful offender status”, a lesser criminal disposition for certain defendants between 16 and 19 years of age.
SEE: Decision – Figueroa v. Fabrizio
“We welcome the court’s decision to allow expungement in this case, but clearly more is still needed to protect New Yorker’s biometric data,“ said STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn. “We have given the police free reign over DNA data-collection for far too long. Today’s decision is a major victory, but it’s just a first step. Rather than just allowing teens to go to court to expunge their DNA data, Albany should make it automatic for all youthful offenders. We also need to address the unconstitutional DNA tactics that the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies use on adults.”

SEE: NYPD detectives demanded DNA swabs from hundreds of black and Latino men while hunting killer of Howard Beach jogger



How Juveniles Get Caught Up In The NYPD's Vast DNA Dragnet


Tuesday’s appeal ruled on the case of a 16-year-old who was arrested on weapons charges in 2015. The defendant gave a DNA sample after allegedly signing a consent form, though he later contested whether he had voluntarily consented to the test. After receiving a youthful offender disposition, the plaintiff sued to expunge his record.  New York law requires courts to seal the records of youthful offenders, but it doesn’t explicitly address DNA information. A trial court had previously denied the plaintiff’s request to expunge his DNA information, but the appellate division reversed the earlier ruling, allowing expungement.

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project STOP is a non-profit advocacy organization and legal services provider hosted by the Urban Justice Center. STOP litigates and advocates for privacy, fighting excessive local and state-level surveillance. Our work highlights the discriminatory impact of surveillance on Muslim Americans, immigrants, and communities of color.
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CONTACT: STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn; 

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