WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Justice Served Act of 2018, which would provide funds to prosecute the rape kit backlog and get 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.
“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."
“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.”
Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn’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:
- Authorizes five to seven percent of funds under the Debbie Smith Act to be used to prosecute cold cases;
- Enhances prosecutors’ capacity to solve these cases through advances in DNA forensic analysis;
- Brings justice to the victims of crime and their families by giving prosecutors the tools they need to investigate, solve, and close cold cases;
- Helps 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.
Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to prevent domestic violence. In January, Klobuchar’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act, was signed into law by the President. The SAFER Act, co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), reauthorizes, strengthens, and extends the Sexual Assault Forensic Registry program in an effort to help reduce the national rape kit backlog. The Klobuchar-backed bipartisan Justice for All Reauthorization Act was signed into law in 2016. The law strengthens the rights of crime victims by providing the protection they need to restore their lives and enhances law enforcement’s ability to proactively stop violent criminals. The Justice for All Reauthorization Act also aims to reduce the rape kit backlog by supporting grant programs that fund forensic testing. Klobuchar has also championed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and led efforts to pass bipartisan legislation supporting survivors of sexual assault in the military.