Yes. They can.
We have previously written about the importance of Wisconsin's criminal DNA database, as well as some of the legal challenges associated with it. For law enforcement, DNA evidence is often the fastest and most accurate way to solve sex crimes, murders and other violent offenses.
A case currently before the United States Supreme Court (USCS) may ultimately influence whether Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to obtain DNA from all persons arrested for a felony may be instituted or not. This proposal is being characterized as "DNA-on-Arrest." If Gov. Walker's proposal is instituted, every individual in Wisconsin arrested on a felony charge including Internet crimes, violent crimes and various property crimes, would be required to submit a DNA sample to law enforcement.
Currently in Wisconsin, certain individuals are required to submit DNA samples to law enforcement for cataloging. However, under a proposal submitted by the state's Department of Justice, DNA samples would not only be required from individuals convicted of felony charges, but also from those convicted of many kinds of misdemeanors.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about a man convicted of triple homicide who has been fighting for more than a decade just to have the evidence in his case retested. While this incident did not occur in Wisconsin, it speaks to the importance of Wisconsin's efforts to update and expand its criminal DNA database.
Some of our recent posts have been focused on the importance of hard evidence when attempting to convict someone on criminal charges. Over the last few years, improvements in Wisconsin's criminal DNA database and the heroic efforts of groups like the Innocence Project have contributed to the exoneration of many individuals who were wrongly convicted of serious crimes like rape and murder.
We have previously posted about the importance of DNA evidence and Wisconsin's criminal DNA database. As forensic science improves, there is no stronger or more accurate piece of evidence than DNA. For someone falsely accused of a sex crime such as rape, DNA evidence may be the only thing keeping him from a lifetime of wrongful imprisonment.