BREAKING: U.S. Senate Passes Sen. Ossoff’s Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Homicide Prosecution

Bipartisan bill would crack down on violent crime & bring justice to families of homicide victims

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to strengthen Federal homicide prosecution and crack down on violent crime passed the U.S. Senate last night. 

Sens. Ossoff and Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) bipartisan Justice for Murder Victims Act would help prosecute violent criminals and bring justice to homicide victims and their families. The bipartisan bill would eliminate the old and arbitrary “year-and-a-day” rule, which prohibits Federal homicide prosecution if the victim dies more than a year from the date of the attack or incident. 

Many states have already abolished the rule, which dates back to the 13th century, for state prosecutions, but Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s bill would eliminate it for Federal cases nationwide — ensuring justice for homicide victims and their families.  

“Murderers and violent criminals must be held accountable. The Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to help secure justice for homicide victims and their families,” said Sen. Ossoff. 

“The power of modern medicine has made the year-and-a-day rule totally arbitrary. There’s no sense in keeping it on the books any longer. I’m grateful the Senate has passed this legislation to ensure justice is served, violent criminals are held accountable and victims’ loved ones get the closure they deserve,” Grassley said.

Major public safety and law enforcement organizations have backed Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s bill. 

“The Major Cities Chiefs Association is proud to endorse the Justice for Murder Victims Act,”said Eddie Garcia, Chief, Dallas Police Department, and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association. “This legislation will update the federal code to remove an outdated provision that prohibits homicide prosecutions if the victim lives more than a year and a day from when they were attacked. This change will help increase accountability throughout the criminal justice system by helping ensure violent offenders can be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The MCCA thanks Sen. Grassley and Sen. Ossoff for introducing this bill.” 

“The timing of a victim’s death should not negatively impact their access to justice. After watching their loved ones fight to stay alive for over a year, families should not deal with a loss while learning that their loved one’s attacker will not be prosecuted. As modern science allows victims to keep fighting longer and longer, archaic rules that disincentive their fight for life should be abolished” said Larry Cosme, National President, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “The Justice for Murder Victims Act would ensure prosecutions are possible no matter when a victim passes. FLEOA firmly supports this bill and applauds Senator Grassley and Senator Ossoff for leading its introduction.” 

“The National District Attorneys Association is proud to support Senator Grassley and Senator Ossoff as they introduce the Justice for Murder Victims Act. This legislation updates an archaic rule that limits the ability of Federal prosecutors to hold offenders accountable and provide justice for victims and their families. We look forward to moving this bipartisan proposal through Congress at a time when violent crime is plaguing communities across the country,” said Nelson Bunn, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association. 

“The idea that a murderer can escape culpability if their victim takes more than a year to pass is archaic and unjust. Modern medicine provides numerous ways for victims to continue fighting for their life long after their attack. When a victim loses the fight more than a year out, their loved ones should not be denied justice as a result. Every state to reconsider the common law year and a day rule has come to the same conclusion and abolished it. We urge Congress to do the same by passing this bill into law. NAAUSA thanks Senator Grassley for leading this effort on behalf of murder victims,” said National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys President Steve Wasserman.

Sen. Ossoff continues working to strengthen public safety across Georgia.Earlier this year, Sens. Ossoff and Grassley introduced the bipartisan Preventing Child Trafficking Act of 2024 to strengthen coordination between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent child trafficking.

Last September, Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn launched an inquiry with Attorney General Merrick Garland about the FBI’s capacity to investigate and respond to crimes involving child sexual abuse and exploitation, highlighting a June 2023 report to Congress in which the DOJ cited an international threat assessment demonstrating that “the growth in online child sexual exploitation is outpacing our ability to respond.” 

Late last year, Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s bipartisan Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act of 2023 was signed into law, strengthening Federal protections against the sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation. 

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