May 24, 2013 – The Joint Finance Committee voted on Thursday to adopt a modified version of Gov. Walker’s plan calling for an expanded DNA collection program.
The governor’s proposal allocates $6 million to expand current DNA collection practices to include anyone arrested on a felony charge, and anyone convicted of a crime. Currently, only individuals who are convicted of felonies and certain sex-related misdemeanors are required to submit DNA samples under Wis. Stat. section 973.047.
Katie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org kstenz wisbar wisbar kstenz org, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.
JFC tweaked the governor’s recommendation to include a requirement for circuit courts to notify defendants of their right to seek expungement of their DNA profile from the state DNA databank, and a deletion of the governor’s provision to collect biological samples at arrest for any alleged misdemeanor violation.
JFC also decided to wait several months before rolling out the new program in order to fully comprehend the impending U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court is in the process of reviewing a case that would determine the future of state laws that call for DNA collection upon arrest. The Court is expected to rule sometime this spring in Maryland v. King, which specifically examines whether police can force a suspect to give a DNA sample when he or she has been arrested, but not yet convicted of a crime.
Twenty-five other states and the federal government require police to collect DNA samples from suspects in certain crimes – mostly felonies – upon arrest.
Now that the governor’s proposal has been reviewed by JFC, it will be sent to the Senate and Assembly for further deliberation and possible passage.