WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing the Combatting Violent and Dangerous Crime Act to fight the surge in crime by reforming the criminal code and clarifying existing law. The legislation aims to help law enforcement better prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes.
“Murder, carjacking, kidnapping and other violent crime are on the rise in major cities across our country. We cannot afford to let criminals off the hook when they choose crime and violence. This bill would help law enforcement get dangerous predators off our streets and away from innocent Americans,” said Kennedy.
“Crime is skyrocketing in communities across the country. Carjackings, homicides, attacks on law enforcement are all up. We have a duty to ensure that penalties for federal offenses serve as a deterrent and that any ambiguity from split court decisions is rectified so that perpetrators can be held accountable. This bill includes a number of small fixes that will go a long way in improving justice and preventing future crimes. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have bipartisan support to advance these modest, but meaningful, reforms. American communities are suffering under a scourge of lawlessness, so I hope we get some cooperation soon and I’ll keep reaching across the aisle to get it,” said Grassley.
Notable reforms in the bill include:
- Bank robbery
- Updates the definition of “attempted bank robbery” to clarify that the statute punishes ordinary “attempts” at bank robbery. This means that the offender intended to commit bank robbery and took a “substantial step” toward carrying out that intent.
- Adds a new “conspiracy” offense to allow for the prosecution of criminals who conspired with others to commit bank robbery.
- Deadly crimes
- Removes the common law year-and-a-day limitation on indictments for federal crimes that result in the death of the victim since many victims survive their attacks thanks to modern medicine yet still succumb to their injuries more than one year later.
- Vehicular homicide (carjacking)
- Reduces the burden for prosecutors who can prove the offender took the vehicle by violence or intimidation by striking the “intent” requirement.
- Creates a conspiracy to commit carjacking offense, which applies the same penalty as offenders who carry out the offense.
- Increases the statutory maximum imprisonment term for carjacking from 15 to 20 years as well as the penalty for offenders who use dangerous weapons to carry out a carjacking.
- Candy-flavored drugs
- Enhances penalties for marketing candy-flavored controlled substances to minors.
- Clarifies that federal kidnapping charges can apply to non-violent abductions, including abductions by deception.
Text of the legislation is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.