Plan Would Allow DNA Sampling At Felony Arrests

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The Joint Finance Committee approved a plan last night to make people arrested for alleged felonies and sexual assault subject to DNA sampling.

Taking DNA from someone arrested for any alleged crime would be new in Wisconsin; right now law enforcement has to wait to take a sample until someone is convicted. The governor’s budget would have allowed DNA sampling at the time of arrest for both misdemeanors and felonies. Lawmakers voted Thursday night to narrow his plan, taking misdemeanors out of the equation.

State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Hills) said she’d been working on this for 5-6 years: “I’m convinced that this is going to be beneficial in catching career criminals, saving lives.”

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The plan received a bipartisan 14-2 vote. More than two dozen states allow for the collection of DNA at the time of arrest. Thursday night’s vote comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether those laws violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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