The Commission on Forensic Science | DNA Subcommittee oversees the state’s DNA Databank. The Commission develops minimum standards and a program of accreditation for all public forensic laboratories in New York State, among other responsibilities. The DNA Subcommittee grants accreditation to public DNA laboratories and advises the Commission on any matter related to the implementation of scientific controls and quality assurance procedures for the performance of forensic DNA analysis. State law requires individuals convicted and sentenced for felony offenses and all Penal Law misdemeanors to provide a DNA sample.
The functions, duties and membership of the Commission and DNA Subcommittee are detailed in state Executive Law Article 49-B Sections 995 – 995-b.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides staff support to the Commission and its DNA Subcommittee. The Commission has 14 members who serve three-year terms. The DNA Subcommittee has seven members who serve three-year terms. All Subcommittee members are scientists. A member whose term has expired remains on the Commission or Subcommittee until they are reappointed, or a replacement is named.
(as of 11/06/2023)
Rossana Rosado, Chair
Commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Pasquale Buffolino, Ph.D.
Laboratory Director, Nassau County Office of the Medical Examiner Division of Forensic Services
Term Ends: 12/26/2015
Lydia M. de Castro
Laboratory Director, Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research Division of Forensic Science
Term Ends: 12/26/2018
Jill Dooley, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Forensic Services, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Term Ends: 9/9/2021
Steven B. Epstein, Esq.
Founding Partner and Head of DWI and Vehicular Crimes Litigation, Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco
Term Ends: 12/26/2024
William J. Fitzpatrick, Esq.
District Attorney, Onondaga County
Term Ends: 9/26/2009
Jessica Goldthwaite, Esq.
Attorney, Legal Aid Society
New York County
Term Ends: 12/26/2021
Michael Marciano, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor, Syracuse University
Term Ends: 7/1/2023
Angela M. Mazzarelli
Retired Associate Justice, Appellate Division
New York County
Term Ends: 9/20/2019
Director, Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program, New York State Department of Health
Term Ends: 9/20/2025
Laboratory Director, Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory
Term Ends: 6/30/2024
Ann M. Willey, Ph.D., J.D.
Retired Director of Laboratory Policy, New York State Department of Health
Term Ends: 9/20/2022
Dr. James Chithalen
Deputy Director, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health
Note: Dr. Chithalen is the designee of the state Health Commissioner; he is a non-voting member.
DNA Subcommittee Members
(as of 10-15-2023)
Michael D. Coble, Ph.D., Chair
Associate Professor/Executive Director, Center for Human Identification
Tarrant County, TX
Term Ends: 7/31/2026
Katherine Butler Gettings, Ph.D.
Research Biologist, National Institute for Standards and Technology
Montgomery County, MD
Term Ends: 6/30/2021
Frederick Bieber, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard University
Suffolk County, MA
Term Ends: 6/30/2021
Kathleen Corrado, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute
Onondaga County, NY
Term Ends: 8/31/2025
Kenneth Kidd, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven County, CT
Term Ends: 6/30/2021
Jenifer Smith, Ph.D.
Former Lab Director, Principal, Bio Forensics Consulting LLC
Ann Arundel County, MD
Term Ends: 12/31/2022
Amanda Sozer, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer, SNA International
Alexandria County, VA
Term Ends: 6/30/2021
Commission on Forensic Science
The Commission has 14 members appointed by the Governor. As detailed in law, the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services serves as chair and the Commissioner of the Department of Health or designee is an ex-officio non-voting member. Other members:
- Chair of the New York State Crime Laboratory Advisory Committee
- A director of a forensic laboratory located in New York State
- The director of the Office of Forensic Services at the Division of Criminal Justice Services
- Two scientists with experience in the areas of laboratory standards or quality assurance regulation and monitoring
- A representative of a law enforcement agency
- A representative of prosecution services
- A representative of the public criminal defense bar
- A representative of the private criminal defense bar
- An attorney or judge with a background in privacy issues and biomedical ethics
- A representative recommended by the state Senate
- A representative recommended by the state Assembly
All members are scientists, and individuals with expertise in the following disciplines must be represented: molecular biology; population genetics; forensic science; and laboratory standards and quality assurance regulation and monitoring.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner appoints the DNA Subcommittee Chair, and the Chair selects the remaining members upon recommendation by the Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner and the state Health Commissioner.
New York State Executive Law Article 49-B, Sections 995 – 995-b:
§ 995. Definitions. When used in this article, the following words and
terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section:
1. For purposes of general forensic analysis the term "forensic
laboratory" shall mean any laboratory operated by the state or unit of
local government that performs forensic testing on evidence in a
criminal investigation or proceeding or for purposes of identification.
2. For purposes of forensic DNA analysis, the term "forensic DNA
laboratory" shall mean any forensic laboratory operated by the state or
unit of local government, that performs forensic DNA testing on crime
scenes or materials derived from the human body for use as evidence in a
criminal proceeding or for purposes of identification and the term
"forensic DNA testing" shall mean any test that employs techniques to
examine deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) derived from the human body for the
purpose of providing information to resolve issues of identification.
Regulation pursuant to this article shall not include DNA testing on
materials derived from the human body pursuant to title five of article
five of the public health law for the purpose of determining a person's
genetic disease or medical condition and shall not include a laboratory
operated by the federal government.
3. "DNA testing methodology" means methods and procedures used to
extract and analyze DNA material, as well as the methods, procedures,
assumptions, and studies used to draw statistical inferences from the
4. "Blind external proficiency testing" means a test sample that is
presented to a forensic laboratory for forensic DNA testing through a
second agency, and which appears to the analysts to involve routine
evidence submitted for forensic DNA testing.
5. "DNA" means deoxyribonucleic acid.
6. "State DNA identification index" means the DNA identification
record system for New York state established pursuant to this article.
7. "Designated offender" means a person convicted of any felony
defined in any chapter of the laws of the state or any misdemeanor
defined in the penal law except: (a) a person convicted of prostitution
under section 230.00 of the penal law, or (b) a person whose
participation in the offense is determined by a court to have been a
result of having been a victim of sex trafficking under section 230.34
of the penal law, sex trafficking of a child under section 230.34-a of
the penal law, or trafficking in persons under the trafficking victims
protection act (United States Code, Title 22, Chapter 78).
8. "DNA record" means DNA identification information prepared by a
forensic DNA laboratory and stored in the state DNA identification index
for purposes of establishing identification in connection with law
enforcement investigations or supporting statistical interpretation of
the results of DNA analysis. A DNA record is the objective form of the
results of a DNA analysis sample.
9. "DNA subcommittee" shall mean the subcommittee on forensic DNA
laboratories and forensic DNA testing established pursuant to
subdivision thirteen of section nine hundred ninety-five-b of this
10. "Commission" shall mean the commission on forensic science
established pursuant to section nine hundred ninety-five-a of this
§ 995-a. Commission on forensic science.
1. There is hereby created in the executive department, the commission on forensic science, which shall consist of the following fourteen members: (a) the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services who shall be chair of the commission and the commissioner of the department of health or his or her designee, who shall serve as an ex-officio member of the commission;
(b) twelve members appointed by the governor.
2. Of the members appointed by the governor,
(a) one member shall be the chair of the New York state crime
laboratory advisory committee;
(b) one member shall be the director of a forensic laboratory located
in New York state;
(c) one member shall be the director of the office of forensic
services within the division of criminal justice services;
(d) two members shall be a scientist having experience in the areas of
laboratory standards or quality assurance regulation and monitoring and
shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of
(e) one member shall be a representative of a law enforcement agency
and shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of
criminal justice services;
(f) one member shall be a representative of prosecution services who
shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of
criminal justice services;
(g) one member shall be a representative of the public criminal
defense bar who shall be appointed upon the recommendation of an
organization representing public defense services;
(h) one member shall be a representative of the private criminal
defense bar who shall be appointed upon the recommendation of an
organization of such bar;
(i) two members shall be members-at-large, one of whom shall be
appointed upon the recommendation of the temporary president of the
senate, and one of whom shall be appointed upon the recommendation of
the speaker of the assembly; and
(j) one member, who shall be an attorney or judge with a background in
privacy issues and biomedical ethics, shall be appointed upon the
recommendation of the chief judge of the court of appeals.
3. Of the members appointed by the governor, each member shall be
appointed to serve a three year term. Any member appointed by the
governor may be reappointed for additional three year terms.
4. Any member chosen to fill a vacancy created otherwise than by
expiration of term shall be appointed by the governor for the unexpired
term of the member he or she is to succeed. Any such vacancy shall be
filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
5. The commission shall meet at least four times each year and may
establish its own rules and procedures concerning the conduct of its
meetings and other affairs not inconsistent with law.
6. No member of the commission on forensic science shall be
disqualified from holding any public office or employment, nor shall he
or she forfeit any such office or employment, by reason of his or her
appointment hereunder, and members of the commission shall not be
required to take and file oaths of office before serving on the
7. Members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their
services but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the performance of their functions hereunder.
§ 995-b. Powers and duties of the commission.
1. The commission shall develop minimum standards and a program of accreditation for all
forensic laboratories in New York state, including establishing minimum
qualifications for forensic laboratory directors and such other
personnel as the commission may determine to be necessary and
appropriate, and approval of forensic laboratories for the performance
of specific forensic methodologies. Nothing in this article shall be
deemed to preclude forensic laboratories from performing research and
validation studies on new methodologies and technologies which may not
yet be approved by the commission at that time.
In designing a system of accreditation pursuant to this article, the
commission shall evaluate other systems of accreditation.
2. The minimum standards and program of accreditation shall be
designed to accomplish the following objectives:
(a) increase and maintain the effectiveness, efficiency, reliability,
and accuracy of forensic laboratories, including forensic DNA
(b) ensure that forensic analyses, including forensic DNA testing, are
performed in accordance with the highest scientific standards
(c) promote increased cooperation and coordination among forensic
laboratories and other agencies in the criminal justice system;
(d) ensure compatibility, to the extent consistent with the provisions
of this article and any other applicable provision of law pertaining to
privacy or restricting disclosure or redisclosure of information, with
other state and federal forensic laboratories to the extent necessary to
share and exchange information, data and results of forensic analyses
and tests; and
(e) set forth minimum requirements for the quality and maintenance of
2-a. Any program of forensic laboratory accreditation with respect to
a DNA laboratory pursuant to this section shall be under the direction
of the DNA subcommittee established pursuant to subdivision thirteen of
this section. Such subcommittee shall have the sole authority to grant,
deny, review or modify a DNA forensic laboratory accreditation pursuant
to this article, provided that such authority shall be effectuated through binding recommendations made by the DNA subcommittee to the
commission. In the event the commission disagrees with any of the
binding recommendations of the DNA subcommittee made pursuant to this article, the commission may so notify such subcommittee and request such subcommittee to reasonably review such binding recommendations. The DNA subcommittee shall conduct such review and either forward revised binding recommendations to the commission or indicate, with the reasons therefor, that following such review such subcommittee has determined that such binding recommendations shall not be revised.
3. The program of forensic laboratory accreditation shall include, at
a minimum, the following requirements:
(a) an initial laboratory inspection, and routine inspections, as
necessary, to ensure compliance with accreditation requirements;
(b) routine internal and external proficiency testing of all
laboratory personnel involved in forensic analysis, including blind
external proficiency testing if the commission, or the DNA subcommittee
as the case may be, determines such a blind proficiency testing program
to be practicable and appropriate. In determining whether a blind
proficiency testing program is practicable and appropriate, the
commission, or the DNA subcommittee as the case may be, shall consider
such factors as accuracy and reliability of laboratory results,
cost-effectiveness, time, allocation of resources, and availability;
(c) quality control and quality assurance protocols, a method
validation procedure and a corrective action and remedial program;
(d) annual certification to the commission by the forensic
laboratories of their continued compliance with the requirements of the
accreditation program which certification, in the case of a forensic DNA
laboratory, shall be forwarded to the DNA subcommittee;
(e) the accreditation of a forensic laboratory may be revoked,
suspended or otherwise limited, upon a determination by the commission
or, in the case of a forensic DNA laboratory, upon the binding
recommendation of the DNA subcommittee, that the laboratory or one or
more persons in its employ:
(i) is guilty of misrepresentation in obtaining a forensic laboratory
(ii) rendered a report on laboratory work actually performed in
another forensic laboratory without disclosing the fact that the
examination or procedure was performed by such other forensic
(iii) showed a pattern of excessive errors in the performance of
forensic laboratory examination procedures;
(iv) failed to file any report required to be submitted pursuant to
this article or the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto;
(v) violated in a material respect any provision of this article or
the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto; and
(f) no forensic laboratory accreditation shall be revoked, suspended,
or otherwise limited without a hearing. The commission shall serve
written notice of the alleged violation, together with written notice of
the time and place of the hearing, which notice shall be mailed by
certified mail to the holder of the forensic laboratory accreditation at
the address of such holder at least twenty-one days prior to the date
fixed for such hearing. An accredited laboratory may file a written
answer to the charges with the commission, not less than five days prior
to the hearing.
4. A laboratory director who knowingly operates a laboratory without
obtaining the accreditation required by this article, or who, with the
intent to mislead or deceive, misrepresents a material fact to the
commission or DNA subcommittee, shall be subject to a civil penalty not
to exceed seventy-five hundred dollars and such other penalties as are
prescribed by the law.
5. The commission and the DNA subcommittee established pursuant to
subdivision thirteen of this section may require and receive from any
agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof such assistance
and data as may be necessary to enable the commission or DNA
subcommittee to administer the provisions of this article. The
commission or DNA subcommittee may enter into such cooperative
arrangements with the division of criminal justice services, the
department of health, and any other state agency, each of which is
authorized to enter into such cooperative arrangements as shall be
necessary or appropriate. Upon request of the commission or DNA
subcommittee, any state agency may transfer to the commission such
officers and employees as the commission or DNA subcommittee may deem necessary from time to time to assist the commission or DNA subcommittee in carrying out its functions and duties. Officers and employees so transferred shall not lose their civil service status or rights, and shall remain in the negotiating unit, if any, established prior to such
6. All of the commission's records, reports, assessments, and
evaluation with respect to accreditation, implementation of quality
assurance standards (including proficiency testing) and monitoring
thereof, shall be archived by the commission.
7. The commission and DNA subcommittee may establish, appoint, and set
terms of members to as many advisory councils as it deems necessary to
provide specialized expertise to the commission with respect to new
forensic technologies including DNA testing methodologies.
8. The commission or DNA subcommittee shall designate one or more
entities for the performance of proficiency tests required pursuant to
the provisions of this article.
9. After reviewing recommendations from the division of criminal
justice services, the commission, in consultation with the DNA
subcommittee, shall promulgate a policy for the establishment and
operation of a DNA identification index consistent with the operational
requirements and capabilities of the division of criminal justice
services. Such policy shall address the following issues:
(a) the forensic DNA methodology or methodologies to be utilized in
compiling the index;
(b) procedures for assuring that the state DNA identification index
contains the following safeguards:
(i) that any records maintained as part of such an index are accurate
(ii) that effective software and hardware designs are instituted with
security features to prevent unauthorized access to such records;
(iii) that periodic audits will be conducted to ensure that no illegal
disclosures of such records have taken place;
(iv) that access to record information system facilities, systems
operating environments, data file contents whether while in use or when
stored in a media library is restricted to authorized personnel only;
(v) that operation programs are used that will prohibit inquiry,
record updates, or destruction of records from any source other than an
authorized source of inquiry, update, or destruction of records;
(vi) that operational programs are used to detect and store for the
output of authorized employees only all unauthorized attempts to
penetrate the state DNA identification index;
(vii) that adequate and timely procedures exist to insure that any
subject of the state DNA identification index has the right of access to
and review of records relating to such individual contained in such
index for the purpose of ascertaining their accuracy and completeness,
including procedures for review of information maintained about such
individuals and administrative review (including procedures for
administrative appeal) and the necessary documentation to demonstrate
that the information is inaccurate or incomplete;
(viii) that access to the index will be granted to an agency
authorized by this article to have such access only pursuant to a
written use and dissemination agreement, a copy of which is filed with
the commission, which agreement sets forth the specific procedures by
which such agency shall implement the provisions of subparagraphs (i)
through (vii) of this paragraph, as applicable, and which agreement
specifically prohibits the redisclosure by such agency of any
information obtained from the DNA identification index; and
(ix) such policy shall provide for the mutual exchange, use and
storage of DNA records with the system of DNA identification utilized by
the federal bureau of investigation provided that the commission
determines that such exchange, use and storage are consistent with the
provisions of this article and applicable provisions of law.
10. Review, and if necessary, recommend modifications to, a plan for
implementation of the DNA identification index submitted by the
commissioner of criminal justice services pursuant to section nine
hundred ninety-five-c of this article.
11. Upon the recommendation of the DNA subcommittee established
pursuant to subdivision thirteen of this section, the commission shall
designate one or more approved methodologies for the performance of
forensic DNA testing, and shall review and act upon applications by
forensic DNA laboratories for approval to perform forensic DNA testing.
12. Promulgate standards for a determination of a match between the
DNA records contained in the state DNA identification index and a DNA
record of a person submitted for comparison therewith.
13. (a) The commission shall establish a subcommittee on forensic DNA
laboratories and forensic DNA testing. The chair of the subcommittee
shall be appointed by the chair of the commission. The chair of the
subcommittee shall appoint six other members to the subcommittee, one of whom shall represent the discipline of molecular biology and be
appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of the department of health, one of whom shall represent the discipline of population genetics and be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of the department of health, one of whom shall be representative of the discipline of laboratory standards and quality assurance regulation and monitoring and be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of the department of health, one of whom shall be a forensic scientist and be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of the department of health, one of whom shall be representative of the discipline of population genetics and be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of criminal justice services and one of whom shall be representative of the discipline of forensic science and be appointed upon the recommendation of the commissioner of criminal justice services. Members of the DNA subcommittee shall serve for three year terms and be subject to the conditions of service specified in section nine hundred ninety-five-a of this article.
(b) The DNA subcommittee shall assess and evaluate all DNA
methodologies proposed to be used for forensic analysis, and make
reports and recommendations to the commission as it deems necessary. The DNA subcommittee shall make binding recommendations for adoption by the commission addressing minimum scientific standards to be utilized in conducting forensic DNA analysis including, but not limited to, examination of specimens, population studies and methods employed to determine probabilities and interpret test results. The DNA subcommittee may require a demonstration by an independent laboratory of any proposed forensic DNA testing methodology proposed to be used by a forensic laboratory.
(c) The DNA subcommittee shall make binding recommendations for
adoption by the commission with regard to an accreditation program for
laboratories performing forensic DNA testing in accordance with the
provisions of the state administrative procedure act. Such
recommendations shall include the adoption and implementation of
internal and external proficiency testing programs, including, if
possible, a blind external proficiency testing program for forensic
laboratories performing forensic DNA testing. The DNA subcommittee shall also provide the commission with a list of accepted proficiency testers.
(d) The DNA subcommittee shall be authorized to advise the commission
on any other matters regarding the implementation of scientific controls
and quality assurance procedures for the performance of forensic DNA
testing, or on any other matters referred to it by the commission.
The Commission and Subcommittee meet at least four times a year. Meetings typically occur at 633 Third Ave., 37th Floor, New York, N.Y, and the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, 80 South Swan St., Albany, N.Y., and are live-streamed.
DNA Subcommittee meetings begin at 9 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 3, 2023
Friday, Feb. 9, 2024
Friday, May 10, 2024
Friday, Aug. 9, 2024
Friday, Nov. 15, 2024
Commission on Forensic Science meetings begin at 9 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2023
Friday, March 15, 2024
Friday, June 14, 2024
Friday, Sept. 27, 2024
Friday, Dec. 13, 2024
Members are not compensated for their service. The Division of Criminal Justice Services pays travel expenses for members to attend meetings.
- FY23: Commission: $6,392; Subcommittee: $1,730
- FY24: Commission: $4,847; Subcommittee: $2,303 (as of 10-15-2023)
- FY25: Commission: $10,500; Subcommittee: $14,700 (projected)
Office of Forensic Services
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
80 South Swan St., Albany, N.Y. 12210
Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 518-457-8828.