WISCONSINREPORT.COM (04/23/2010) - The Wisconsin State Assembly has passed a Senate Bill designed to increase public safety. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says it creates a process to compel offenders who have failed to fulfill their legal obligations, to submit DNA specimens to the data bank. By having a more complete data bank of DNA information it is expected that the job of law enforcement will be swifter and more accurate. In a related matter, Van Hollen says there is no longer a DNA case backlog at the state crime lab.
"I applaud the Wisconsin State Assembly on the passage of Senate Bill 631, an
important piece of public safety legislation," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
"I would especially like to thank State Representatives Tony Staskunas and Garey Bies for their leadership on this legislation in the Assembly," Van Hollen said.
DNA analysis can lead to the identification and successful prosecution of offenders – even in cases that are otherwise without leads.
"This bill can assist all of us in continuing to improve the Department of Justice Crime Lab DNA data bank and strengthen crime fighting in this state," Van Hollen pointed out.
The bill is designed to strengthen the law with respect to the DNA data bank and creates a process to compel offenders who have failed to fulfill their legal obligations to submit DNA specimens to the data bank, which is expected to increase public safety in Wisconsin.
"I look forward to the Governor signing this important public safety legislation into law and working with the Department of Justice’s law enforcement partners on its successful implementation," Attorney General Van Hollen said.
In a related matter, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen delivered a letter to Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin Legislature April 21st, informing them that there is no longer a backlog of DNA cases at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories.
The Attorney General's office says the elimination of the backlog is the result of increased per analyst productivity combined with increased personnel that were authorized in the 2007 budget repair bill.
As of the end of the first quarter in 2010, the crime lab has fewer pending cases than were received and worked in the month of March. Meeting the goal set forth in Van Hollen's 2007 Report to the legislature, all DNA cases are being assigned and actively worked on within 30 days of receipt, and absent unique circumstances, all analysis is performed and reports are complete within 60 days of receipt.
Van Hollen's letter details the development and implementation of his plan. He notes that his recommended plan, authorized by the legislature, was the most efficient way to eliminate the backlog.
The letter describes increased productivity at the state crime laboratories, noting that in 2009, the State Crime Laboratories worked almost four times as many DNA cases as it had prior to the plan's implementation.
Over the first quarter of this year, the State Crime Laboratories have worked more DNA cases than were worked in all of 2006.
Van Hollen noted that he will continue to closely monitor case submissions and productivity to continue to make DNA analysis available to law enforcement officers in a timely fashion so that they may preserve public safety and make better use of scarce local and state resources.
Van Hollen thanked the Governor and the legislature for their efforts, as well, noting that without new personnel, the backlog may be as great as three times what it was when he came into office.
"I am confident that our ability to work together and DOJ's hard work eliminating the backlog has led to more offenders being identified and held accountable, has played a role in preventing crime that might have otherwise occurred, has saved significant resources for local governments, and has made Wisconsin a safer place to live and work," Van Hollen wrote.