Cornyn, Cotton, Grassley Bill to Help Solve Cold Cases Heads to President’s Desk
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released the following statements after the Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act, which requires federal agencies to revisit cold case murder files and apply new technologies in search of potential breakthroughs, passed the Senate. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and John Kennedy (R-LA) also cosponsored the legislation.
“This legislation will help ensure federal law enforcement reviews sometimes decades-old cold case files and appliesthe latest technologies and investigative standards,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This process will help bring grieving families resolution in the midst of tragic circumstances, and I look forward to this being signed into law.”
“Families should have the right to ask for a review of a cold-case where an improvement in forensics may help solve the crime, bringing long-deserved closure to bereaved relatives. Our bill empowers families to do just that—President Biden should sign it immediately.” said Sen. Cotton.
“Families who have lost a loved one due to a senseless act of murder deserve the opportunity to seek justice for the crime committed against them. This bill expands the rights of victims while providing needed transparency in the reopening of cold cases,” said Sen. Grassley.
The Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act would require federal agencies to look at cold cases with a fresh set of eyes and apply the most up-to-date technologies and investigative standards.
The bill would also empower immediate family members to request a cold case review so long as it meets certain basic criteria. Federal agencies will be able to determine if they have exhausted all possible leads or the cold case request does not meet the standard for review, and federal law enforcement agencies would be required to provide annual reports to Congress on what is working and not working with cold case reviews.
The bill is supported by the National District Attorney Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the Murder Accountability Project, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and other victims’ rights groups.