Law enforcement has utilized the process of DNA testing to effectively fight crime, identify and apprehend criminals, and make the community safer (Wisconsin DOJ). In today’s world, the same tool that has been used by law enforcement in the United States has become overwhelmingly abused. Many crime laboratories have experienced an abundance of case loads which have resulted in unprocessed cases. These reports have been publicized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to address a problem. The effected parties of a back log can be victims of sexual assaults as perpetrators who have a tendency to re-offend are still walking the streets. The back log can also cause law enforcement to follow-up on leads that would not normally be conducted if the DNA results were assessable. (Wisconsin DOJ) Press Release by the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ)
The Madison, Wisconsin Crime Laboratory is one of the many state laboratories that have experienced a strain on manpower; budget, in regards to DNA testing. The Office of Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen released a report on February 12, 2007, on the issue of back logged criminal cases. The back logs were defined as any case that an analyst has not worked on (Wisconsin DOJ). In 1996, the crime laboratory received 704 samples to analyze but failed to examine 286 of those samples in the calendar year (Wisconsin DOJ). A dramatic increase through the years of samples received at the crime laboratory for analysis was experienced. In 2006, there were 2,226 samples received and 1,785 samples were not examined by the end of the calendar year (Wisconsin DOJ).
During the investigation by the Wisconsin DOJ it was found that the manpower consisted of 21 criminal analysts. Each analyst was estimated to have worked on four to five cases during a monthly period and approximately 55 cases per year (Wisconsin DOJ). These statistics per criminal analyst are remarkable but have no immediate resolve on the back log. Supply Expenses
One analyst will generate an expense of $3,555 per year for supplies to conduct their examinations (Wisconsin DOJ). In 2006 the total expense on supplies spent for 1,152 cases was $428,500 (Wisconsin DOJ). The state crime laboratory is expected to receive an appropriation of $7.7 million for each year until 2010, but it will not be enough to offset the costs already generated (Wisconsin DOJ). Concerns
The debate for using DNA evidence also raises concerns that not only deal with cost, but also mishandling of DNA, violation of human rights, and ex post facto clause. For example, the state of California has put into action the DNA sampling of all adult and juvenile felons, despite the fact that some are not violent offenders. In edition all 50 states are able to require felons, convicted of murder or sex crimes, to forfeit DNA samples with no questions asked. 35 states like California and...