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Wisconsin DNA Database an Infringement on Privacy, Lawmaker Says

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, defendant rightsWhen charged with a violent crime in Wisconsin, defendants must submit to a sample of their DNA to be collected, stored, and cataloged in a state database. Those records stay there, even if the individual’s charges are ultimately dismissed by a judge.  This has some lawmakers concerned about the privacy rights of non-convicted individuals. A bill, set to be presented to the Senate in 2016, is an attempt to remedy the issue.

History of the DNA Database

In 2013  Governor Scott Walker and the state’s Attorney General introduced the idea of a state database containing DNA evidence of those arrested for violent felony offenses.. Representative Dean Knudson and other lawmakers raised concerns over the privacy rights of those that were ultimately vindicated from criminal charges, but nothing was done about these concerns at that time.

Since then, thousands of profiles have been collected on individuals charged with rape, murder, battery, kidnapping, stalking, arson, auto theft, and more. Even though only a percentage of those arrested and forced to submit to DNA samples, have actually been convicted of a crime, each and every profile remains listed in that database, unless the individual goes through extensive action to have their DNA samples removed from the database.

The Problem with DNA Samples Removed from the State’s Database

Under current law, those who are charged with crimes but ultimately are not convicted, have the right to request that their DNA profile be expunged from database. However, this requires a great deal of time and resources on the part of the individual, including an investigation from the state to ensure that the individual does not have any pending charges. Ultimately, it places the responsibility and frustration on the individual, rather than the government that collected the information in the first place.

Bill Not Expected to Go Far

The bill, to be introduced in 2016 would require the state to expunge any DNA records of individuals who were charged, but ultimately not convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, not even the lawmakers who are sponsoring the bill expect it to gain much traction. This is due, in part, to the fact that some of the individuals affected by mandatory DNA samples are already regulars in the criminal justice system. Another potential issue is that members of law enforcement use the database as an invaluable resource when it comes to solving both cold cases and new crimes. Of course, whether or not it is valuable becomes irrelevant when it is a violation of both privacy and civil liberties of Wisconsin citizens.

Charged with a Violent Crime? Seek Assistance from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Have you been charged with a violent crime? Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, can help. Dedicated to high-quality, aggressive representation, we will take the time to listen to your concerns, ensure your rights are protected, and help you pursue the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Learn more by scheduling your initial consultation with our experienced  Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys. Call 414-271-1440 today.



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