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Attorney General says DNA chance will confuse local police

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin’s attorney general says a last-minute budget change will only confuse police officers as they take D-N-A samples from those arrested for felonies before convictions. One of the most heavily-publicized budget measures called for an extra 68,000 D-N-A samples each year for a statewide database that helps police solve crimes.

Lawmakers concerned about due process rights added new limits to the Joint Finance Committee version of the budget – and they were later approved by both houses. Police can send D-N-A samples to the database only when arrests are made with warrants – or if a judge rules there’s enough evidence to order a felony trial – or if a defendant misses an initial court appearance, or waives-or-misses a preliminary hearing. All samples not sent to the state within a year of an arrest would be destroyed.

Attorney General J-B Van Hollen said the budget measure quote, “left some holes in the program,” and police will be confused about whether to send D-N-A samples to the state. Right now, only convicted felons and major sex offenders have their D-N-A placed in the database. Van Hollen said more crimes could be solved by adding the genetic makeup of arrested suspects to the state’s database.