New York – A bill created in response to the murder of Menachem Stark that would expedite the identification process for unknown decedents has passed the Senate and supporters are hopeful that it will be enacted into law by Governor Cuomo.
The Expedited Missing Persons’ Identification Act would require every county medical examiner and coroner to submit identifying data regarding unidentified deceased individuals to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, a state agency that maintains a database of information that is accessible by law enforcement.
The act is the brainchild of Rabbi David Niederman Executive Director and President of the (UJO) United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, Inc., and came about because of the lengthy time delay that occurred in the Stark case when it took several hours for the connection to be made between the Brooklyn businessman’s disappearance and the body that was found by Nassau County police.
The legislation was sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Senator Daniel Squadron and Senator Simcha Felder is credited with the bill’s passage in the Senate yesterday.
“This is an example of how good legislation can come out of a tragedy and how good legislation can emanate from the public,” Assemblyman Lentol told VIN News. “Rabbi Neiderman saw what was needed in a case like this in order to identify remains quickly so that the family could have closure.”
Under the new law, personal descriptions, fingerprints and other identifying data, include date and place of death, would have to be submitted to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. That information would be made available promptly to all state law enforcement agencies and would also be sent upon request to out of state law enforcement agencies.
Senator Felder praised the bill, saying that while it would be helpful the Jewish community, it addressed a “human” issue, encompassing people of all religions.
“While we know that this is important to use for religious reasons, so that we could do a chesed shel emes, it is, of course, something that would benefit anyone who has a missing loved one G-d forbid.”
The next stop for the bill, which passed the Assembly on April 8th, would be the Governor’s desk. Lentol said that he hopes that Governor will sign the bill when it is presented to him in mid to late July.