Criminal suspects who have their DNA collected could have those samples automatically thrown out, if they are eventually found not guilty.
Under current state law, DNA samples taken when someone is arrested for a violent felony can only be destroyed if a person is cleared of the charges, and then files a petition with the state Department of Justice. Democratic state Representative Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) argues that’s unfair to those who the law says did nothing wrong. He’s introduced legislation that would make the disposal of DNA samples happen right away, once someone has been cleared of charges.
“If someone is innocent of a crime, they shouldn’t have to take the extra step of asking for that to be destroyed – it should be automatic,” Hebl argues.
The state has been collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested for a violent felony since 2015.
A previous version of the bill had bipartisan support, but failed to make it the governor’s desk before the last legislative session ended.