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State AG certain taking DNA from criminal suspects arrested is constitutional


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s attorney general says he’s certain that the U.S. Supreme Court will find that it’s constitutional for police to take DNA samples from criminal suspects who are arrested but not convicted.

J.B. Van Hollen and Governor Scott Walker flew around the state Tuesday to promote their state budget plan to add 68,000 DNA samples to a database that helps police solve crimes.

All felony suspects, plus some misdemeanor suspects, would have to give their DNA to the government just like those convicted of felonies and sexual assaults must do now.

But Chris Ahmuty of the Wisconsin ACLU says it removes the constitutional presumption of innocence. And he said the nation’s highest court is considering a case that might have to force Wisconsin to throw out its plan for sampling those not convicted, depending on what the justices decide.

Walker said he would add $6 million to the next state budget for the extra DNA sampling. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said convicts would end up paying for the tests with a $250 surcharge for felony convicts and $200 for other criminals.

The state would budget $4 million for the State Crime Lab to handle the new samples. $3 million would also be budgeted to expand GPS monitoring to high-risk offenders under restraining orders.

An extra $900,000 would expand investigations of child sex trafficking. And another $4 million would replace surcharges to be dropped to help victims of sexual assaults.