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Wisconsin court says DNA surcharge isn’t punishment

MADISON, Wis. — The state Supreme Court says Wisconsin’s criminal DNA surcharge isn’t punishment.

The 5-0 decision Wednesday stems from a case involving Jamal Williams, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 for his role in a 2013 Milwaukee armed robbery that left a man dead.

Williams argued he was improperly required to pay the $250 DNA surcharge, saying when he committed his crimes the surcharge was mandatory only in certain sex crimes.

The Supreme Court found the surcharge isn’t a punishment and therefore imposing it doesn’t violate bans on ex post facto laws.

The court said the Legislature termed the payment a surcharge rather than a fine and it’s intended to cover expanding DNA databanks rather than punish.

Williams’ attorney, Christopher August, didn’t immediately reply to an email.

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