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Sens. Ossoff, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Homicide Prosecution

Bipartisan proposal aims to crack down on violent crime, bring justice to families of homicide victims

National public safety and law enforcement organizations endorse bipartisan legislation

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is working across the aisle to strengthen Federal homicide prosecution and crack down on violent crime.

Today, Sens. Ossoff and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Justice for Murder Victims Act to 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 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, but Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s bill would eliminate it for Federal cases nationwide, ensuring homicide victims and their families are not denied justice. 

“Murderers and violent criminals must be held accountable,” Sen. Ossoff said. “Our bipartisan legislation will help secure justice for homicide victims and their families.

“No victim should be denied justice simply because modern medicine helped them survive their attack for an arbitrary period of time. Our bill will fix this archaic rule and ensure murderers are brought to justice and families get the closure they deserve,” Sen. Grassley said.

Earlier this year, Sens. Ossoff and Grassley introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen Federal protections against the sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation.

Major public safety and law enforcement organizations endorsed 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 “This legislation will update the federal code to remove an outdated provision that prohibits homicide prosecutions if the victim lives more than a year and a day from when they were attacked.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.

Click here to read the Justice for Murder Victims Act.

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