Keeping a promise he made in his 2006 election campaign, Wisconsin’s attorney general announces today that the state Department of Justice has eliminated a backlog in processing DNA evidence at the state’s crime labs.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen delivered a letter to Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin Legislature today informing them that there is no longer a backlog of DNA cases at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories, even as the number of DNA samples submitted has increased. “Before I took office the agency was working fewer than 100 DNA cases per month, with submissions of about 185 per month, so obviously the backlog was getting worse every month,” Van Hollen said. “We’re now getting submissions of about 500 per month, and we’re working over 500 cases per month.”
J.B. Van Hollen says additional analysts provided by the legislature combined with other efforts within DOJ to close that gap, and he doesn’t anticipate a backlog redeveloping. “Just about every case that comes through the door is being worked almost immediately, and the results are being turned around in about 40 to 45 days right now, which is about as fast as anyone could reasonably believe we could turn them around,” he said. “As long as I’m attorney general, we are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure this backlog does not come back.”
Van Hollen, Republican, faces reelection in November. Former Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett, a Democrat, is the only registered opponent at this point.
J.B. Van Hollen (2:35 MP3) AUDIO: J.B. Van Hollen (2:35 MP3)