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What does Familial DNA mean for those accused in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin law enforcement is now using something called Familial DNA in investigations for violent crimes. Currently, the process is only being used in cases that involve possible homicides or serial rapists, but some are speaking out against the DNA use as an invasion of privacy.

Previously, DNA results from violent crime investigations were run against criminal databases in an effort to get a direct hit on someone whose information was already in the system. The Familial DNA process lets investigators run DNA and look for possible family matches. By using the DNA search, along with process of elimination and other investigative procedures, authorities believe they can locate suspects for violent crimes.

In one case, a man was accused of serial rape after Familial DNA led to his brother, whose DNA was in the system. The man's brother had been convicted on a felony count of marijuana possession. According to reports, the DNA search found two possible familial results, but one of the individuals on the results didn't have a male relative that met the serial rape suspect profile.

Authorities were led to the man in question because the familial DNA identified his brother and the man had been previously accused of rape. It seems that the Familial DNA alone may not be enough to point to a suspect. According to reports, the man in question plans to fight the charges, claiming he is innocent.

It's important to remember that no person should be considered automatically guilty. DNA evidence has been overturned before, and there is some vocal opposition to the new Familial DNA processes. Police are quoted as saying innocent people don't have to worry because their DNA won't be at a crime scene, but that isn't always true. When facing charges for violent crimes, a strong advocate that understands how to fight against DNA evidence can help increase your chances at a successful outcome.

Source: Fox 6 Now, "Wisconsin now using controversial DNA testing to solve crimes" Meghan Dwyer and Stephen Davis, Oct. 23, 2014

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