U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced the Justice Served Act of 2018, which would provide funds to prosecute the rape kit backlog and justice for victims of heinous crimes like sexual assault by resolving cold cases and exonerating those wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit. Senators Cruz, Tillis, Brown, Heller, Portman, and Feinstein are cosponsors of the legislation.
“Victims of heinous crimes, including sexual assault, deserve to have their attackers brought to justice, and in order for that to happen, our law enforcement officers must have the proper tools at their disposal,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This bill will enhance prosecutors’ capacity to utilize advances in DNA testing to solve and prosecute cold cases and provide closure to families who have sometimes been waiting years for justice.”
“As a former prosecutor, I know that behind every unprocessed rape kit or cold case is a victim who deserves justice,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This bill will provide prosecutors the tools they need to find the answers to unsolved crimes, put criminals behind bars and get justice for victims of sexual assault.”
Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar’s legislation, the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act, was signed into law in January and will reauthorize, strengthen, and extend the Sexual Assault Forensic Reporting program to help fight the nationwide rape kit backlog.
The Justice Served Act of 2018 would provide funds for the prosecution of crimes cleared through DNA. This legislation brings results to the courthouse and resolves these cases by:
- Authorizing five to seven percent of funds under the Debbie Smith Act to be used to prosecute cold cases;
- Enhancing prosecutors’ capacity to follow through on what Congress has started with the funding of programs to solve these cases through advances in DNA forensic analysis;
- Bringing justice to the victims of crime and their families by giving prosecutors the tools they need to investigate, solve, and close cold cases;
- Giving families closure after sometimes waiting decades for their loved ones’ murderers to be identified through new DNA analysis of old crime scene evidence; and
- Helping exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit with new DNA testing results.
This legislation has been endorsed by the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), Debbie Smith, the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the National Association of Police Organizations.
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.