House Passes 'Justice for All' DNA Act
Sen. Patrick Leahy, who has championed the Innocence Protection Act for the past several years, is putting a good face on today's House passage of Rep. Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) (mostly) victims' rights bill, H.R. 5107, the "Justice for All Act."
While this bill is far from what was hoped for and what is needed from an innocence perspective, it's better than no bill at all. I have nothing but praise for Senator Leahy and Congressmen Bill Delahunt and Ray La Hood who fought the Administration long and hard to get as much as they could for those who wrongfully languish in our nations' prisons and on death row. But for their tenacity and dedication, there would be no relief in sight.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where, believe it or not, the White House, Ashcroft, and two Republican Senators (Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl) remain opposed to it. Leahy and Sensenbrenner today called upon them to get out of the way of the bill's passage.
The Justice For All Act of 2004 (HR 5107...includes many provisions from a victims’ rights bill that was already passed by the full Senate and incorporates the Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act (H.R. 3214/S. 1700). This omnibus legislation enhances the rights and protections for all persons involved in the criminal justice system through two different, but complementary, mechanisms: (1) a new set of statutory victims' rights that are both enforceable in a court of law and supported by fully-funded victims' assistance programs; and (2) a comprehensive DNA bill that seeks to ensure that the true offender is caught and convicted for the crime.
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