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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today applauded the swift approval last night by the Joint Legislative Committee on Finance of his request for 31 additional positions at the State Crime Lab to address the backlog of DNA cases.
"The DNA backlog has been allowed to grow for far too long and requires immediate attention," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "As the Department of Justice demonstrated in its detailed review of DNA State Crime Lab resources, the Department is committed to improving the efficient turnaround of DNA evidence, but more resources are necessary. I am very pleased the bipartisan budget-writing committee of the legislature recognizes the urgent need to address the DNA backlog and has responded positively to my request for these critical new positions with the goal of eliminating the backlog by 2010. By their unanimous vote, legislators voting last night acknowledge how important it is to each and every Wisconsin citizen that the State Crime Lab timely process evidence submitted for DNA testing. This groundbreaking scientific service promotes public safety and protects victims by helping law enforcement identify suspects, helping prosecutors convict the guilty, and helping the innocent to be exonerated.
"I thank the Governor for recognizing the need to move now and include additional DNA analysts as part of this special legislation, and I thank the Governor and legislators for their support of my proposal. Today we are one step closer to achieving a goal that benefits all Wisconsinites, and I am deeply grateful for the bipartisan support this effort has received."
The proposal now moves on to both houses of the legislature for legislative approval, and then to the Governor for his signature.