WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) joined colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation, the Justice Served Act of 2018, which would provide funds to prosecute the rape kit backlog and justice for victims of heinous crimes like sexual assault by resolving cold cases and exonerating those wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit.

“By tackling the backlog of cold cases, we can provide justice and closure to victims and their families who have waited too long for answers,” said Brown. “This bipartisan legislation will enhance the ability of Ohio law enforcement and prosecutors to identify and charge offenders, exonerate individuals wrongfully convicted of crimes, and finally resolve long-outstanding cold cases.” 

“The Debbie Smith Act has given law enforcement the tools to process the rape kit backlog by using DNA technology,” said Portman. “I’m proud of the work being done in crime labs across Ohio.  This legislation will ensure that we put a priority on resolving old sexual assault cases and providing victims the justice and closure they deserve.”

The Justice Served Act of 2018 would provide funds for the prosecution of crimes cleared through DNA. This legislation brings results to the courthouse and resolves these cases by:

  • Authorizing five to seven percent of funds under the Debbie Smith Act to be used to prosecute cold cases;
  • Enhancing prosecutors’ capacity to follow through on what Congress has started with the funding of programs to solve these cases through advances in DNA forensic analysis;
  • Bringing justice to the victims of crime and their families by giving prosecutors the tools they need to investigate, solve, and close cold cases;
  • Giving families closure after sometimes waiting decades for their loved ones’ murderers to be identified through new DNA analysis of old crime scene evidence; and
  • Helping exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit with new DNA testing results. 

Brown and Portman’s bill was introduced by Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Klobuchar (R-MN) and is also supported by Sens. Cruz (R-TX), Tillis (R-NC), Heller (R-NV), and Feinstein (D-CA).

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.