AG race heats up over DNA

State facing huge backlog in DNA cases, candidates trade attacks while incumbent requests $3m upgrade in lab.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

As a vicious election battle for Wisconsin attorney general heats up, one of the key election issues is the state's backlog of DNA analysis, Stateline.org reports.

Lautenschlager's opponents charge the backlog has resulted in criminals being left on the street, and they criticized her for waiting until this week to announce her plan to speed up processing of DNA evidence. Lautenschlager announced Tuesday a $1.9 million proposal for 12 additional DNA analysts and new facilities to close the backlog.

Meanwhile, Republican Paul Bucher brought out the big guns in any law enforcement election - teary-eyed parents, a teenage rape victim, and a cop killer.

In the ad, the parents describe the 2004 rape and recount how the rapist later killed a state law enforcement officer before DNA evidence from the rape was matched with the assailant's DNA sample in the state crime lab.

Tuesday, Lautenschlager used the budgetary power of her office to request a $3 million plan to expand the state's DNA testing facility and hire 12 more analysts, the AP reports.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Creating a DNA analysis unit at the Wausau crime lab. Currently only the state crime labs in Madison and Milwaukee handle DNA tests.
  • Setting up an evening shift at the Madison crime lab, staffed by six new analysts and a technician.
  • Hiring two more DNA lab technicians, one for Madison and one for Milwaukee.
  • Converting a vacant fingerprint analyst position to a DNA analyst spot.
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