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american lawyer media news service New york-In a challenge to New York’s 1999 expansion of the DNA criminal registry, the state’s highest court has held that the law can be applied retroactively since its objective is to aid crime investigations and not to punish past behavior. The New York Court of Appeals, in Paul Kellogg v. Brion D. Travis, rejected a paroled convict’s claim that the DNA requirement amounted to an unconstitutional ex post facto law. Judge Albert M. Rosenblatt, writing for the court, said ex post facto applies only to penal statutes that seek to impose punishment. That, he said, is not the case here. “Because the purpose of the DNA identification index is to aid in investigation, and not to punish, the retroactive application of the amendment comports with the Ex Post Facto Clause,” Rosenblatt wrote. The appeal involves a man, Paul Kellogg, who was convicted in 1994 of assault and weapons charges. While on parole in 2000, Kellogg’s parole officer advised him that an amendment to the DNA registry law required him to submit a DNA sample. Kellogg, a violent felony offender, complied under protest and then challenged the constitutionality of the law.

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