Divided state Supreme Court upholds DNA fee

Divided state Supreme Court upholds DNA fee

The Wisconsin Supreme Court says a $250 fee charged to a Racine woman to collect and process her DNA samples was correctly levied, even though it did not have to be assessed at the time of her conviction.

The court ruled 6-1 to uphold a state appeals court decision finding that the fee was legally assessed to Tabitha Scruggs. Justice Shirley Abrahamson dissented.

Scruggs was convicted of burglary in April 2014. She was ordered to provide a DNA sample and pay a $250 surcharge. That charge was not mandatory when she was charged but was when she was sentenced.

The Supreme Court says Scruggs did not prove that imposition of the DNA surcharge was punitive.

Abrahamson argues in her dissent that imposition of the fee amounted to illegal extra punishment.