Cornyn, Klobuchar Applaud House Passage of Their DNA Cold Case Bill

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The Justice Served Act of 2018 would provide funds for the prosecution of crimes solved through DNA testing. This legislation would strengthen our criminal justice system. Sen. Cornyn’s photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today released the following statements after the U.S. House of Representatives passed companion legislation to their Justice Served Act of 2018, which would provide funds to prosecute cold cases that are solved by breakthrough DNA evidence, including backlogged rape kits. By making sure that newly tested evidence is used to prosecute unsolved cases, this bill would ensure that violent criminals are brought to justice instead of remaining on the streets.

“We must ensure that law enforcement have the resources they need to deliver justice in cold cases that have gone unsolved,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will help prosecutors follow-through on new leads in the most difficult cases and use innovations in DNA testing to prosecute criminals who have escaped justice for many years.”

“As a former prosecutor, I know that behind every unprocessed cold case is a victim seeking justice and scientific advancements have made DNA testing an incredibly useful tool in that fight. By giving prosecutors the support they need to address DNA backlogs, this bipartisan legislation will ensure that criminals are put behind bars, cold cases are put to rest and justice can finally be served. The House took an important step forward this week and I hope the Senate will follow soon,” said Sen. Klobuchar.

Background:

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The Justice Served Act of 2018 would provide funds for the prosecution of crimes solved through DNA testing. This legislation would strengthen our criminal justice system by:

  • Authorizing funds under the Debbie Smith Act  for the prosecution of DNA cold cases;
  • Enhancing prosecutors’ capacity to follow-through on what Congress started through funding the nationwide testing of backlogged DNA evidence, including rape kits;
  • Delivering justice for crime victims who live with the constant fear that their attacker remains at-large and on the streets;
  • Giving families closure after waiting many years for their loved ones’ murderers or attackers to be identified; and
  • Helping exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit by identifying and prosecuting the actual offenders.

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), the National Association of Police Organizations, Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, Joyful Heart Association, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the Major Cities Chiefs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Criminal Justice Association.  

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.