National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury sent a letter stating the FOP’s support of the “Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016” to Senators John Cornyn and Patrick J. Leahy.
About the Bill
A bill to protect crime victims’ rights, to eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA and other forensic evidence samples to improve and expand the forensic science testing capacity of Federal, State, and local crime laboratories, to increase research and development of new testing technologies, to develop new training programs regarding the collection and use of forensic evidence, to provide post-conviction testing of DNA evidence to exonerate the innocent, to support accreditation efforts of forensic science laboratories and medical examiner offices, to address training and equipment needs, to improve the performance of counsel in State capital cases, and for other purposes.
Text of Letter:
Dear Senators Cornyn and Leahy,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 2577, the “Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016.”
This reauthorization bill will enhance and protect the rights of crime victims throughout the United States through FY202 l . The “Justice for All Reauthorization Act” would ensure that crime victims are informed of their rights and provided the appropriate contact for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman in the Department of Justice (DOJ). The bill would also expand eligibility for post-conviction DNA testing in criminal proceedings (except in death penalty cases) and would enhance the Debbie Smith Backlog Grant Program by helping eliminate the DNA backlog nationwide. This legislation further helps victims of sexual assault by requiring that they are notified of the availability of free rape exams and would increase funding for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement grant program.
Furthermore, the legislation would reinstate the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program requirement that States develop and annually update, a comprehensive strategic plan detailing how the Byrne-JAG funds would be used to improve the administration of the criminal justice system. Strategic plans, developed in consultation with local governments, as well as all sectors of the criminal justice system, will not only enable states to effectively demonstrate what programs Byrne-JAG funds statewide, but also how important that funding is to a multitude of criminal justice programs throughout each state.
Finally, this bill reauthorizes funding at current levels for the Crime Victims Legal Assistance grants and the Crime Victims Notification grants. Both grants programs have been invaluable in ensuring that crime victims receive the help and support they need as their cases move through the level process.
On behalf of the more than 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I applaud you for your continued efforts on this issue and look forward to working with your staff to move this bill. If you need any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington, D.C. office.