Feb 07 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act to require district attorneys (DAs) to report violent crimes that they fail to charge criminals with committing. Prosecutors who fail to report these decisions risk losing priority funding for their districts.
“Criminals are victimizing innocent Americans, and woke prosecutors are letting them do it over and over again. Louisianians and all Americans deserve to know when their district attorneys refuse to stand up for victims. Our bill would require prosecutors to report what crimes they fail to prosecute so that Americans can better hold their public servants accountable,” said Kennedy.
The legislation responds to a nation-wide trend of DAs who are declining to prosecute murder, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and other serious crimes.
Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have cosponsored the bill.
“As communities throughout the nation continue to deal with disturbingly high levels of violent crime, I’m proud to support this legislation to increase transparency for soft-on-crime prosecutors and hold jurisdictions accountable for allowing criminals who are charged with gun-related crimes to get out of jail without posting cash bail,” said Thune.
“With crime on the rise in Democrat-led cities across the nation, it is imperative that these Soros-backed prosecutors work, do their jobs and get these violent offenders off our streets, instead of allowing career criminals to run rampant in our community. Catch-and-release is enough of a disaster on the Texas-Mexico border. The last thing we need is to institute it in our courts. I’m proud to stand with Sen. Kennedy and our colleagues to demand transparency about this abdication of professional responsibility,” said Cruz.
The bill would apply to state and local prosecutors in the 50 U.S. cities in which crime is most on the rise—including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and New Orleans. Requiring DA’s to publicly report crimes that go unprosecuted will help the Justice Department better determine which jurisdictions are allowing defendants to avoid criminal penalties for serious crimes. For example, jurisdictions with a formal policy that eliminates cash bail for offenses involving a firearm would lose certain federal grant funding.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Over the past two years, we've seen a disturbing trend in big-city district attorneys working to keep dangerous criminals on our streets rather than behind bars. Look no further than my city of New York where Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg released a 'Day One' memo initially directing his staff to not prosecute certain crimes, downgrade other felony charges filed by police, and no longer seek sentences of life without parole. The same type of woke policies have been enacted by progressive DAs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, and voters have had enough. With prosecutors refusing to prosecute and governors only enabling their leniency, Congress has a responsibility to step in and arm the public with the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box,” said Malliotakis.
In recent years, a multimillion-dollar project to replace effective policing in major cities with practices inspired by the defund-the-police movement has helped elect DAs who repeatedly refuse to prosecute violent crime.
The bill’s text is available here.