WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and 26 colleagues to introduce the Back the Blue Act, which would increase the penalties for criminals who intentionally target law enforcement officers.
“Our nation’s law enforcement officers put their personal safety on the line every day to protect and serve our communities. Those who deliberately target and attack officers should face tough penalties commensurate with their actions,” said Risch.
“Idahoans will always Back the Blue,” said Crapo. “Updating the Federal Criminal Code provides a necessary deterrent to those seeking to harm federal judges and law enforcement officers.”
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to serve families across Texas,” said Cornyn. “Violent criminals who target those who protect our communities should face swift and tough penalties, and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message.”
The Back the Blue Act would:
Create New Criminal Provisions to Protect Law Enforcement Officers
- Create a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if death results; the offender would otherwise face a minimum sentence of 10 years.
- Create a new federal crime for assaulting a federally funded law enforcement officer, with escalating penalties, including mandatory minimums, based on the extent of any injury and the use of a dangerous weapon. However, no prosecution can be commenced absent certification by the Attorney General that prosecution is appropriate.
- Create a new federal crime for interstate flight from justice to avoid prosecution for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for this offense.
Create a Specific Aggravating Factor for Federal Death Penalty Prosecutions
- Clarify that the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer or first responder is a statutory aggravating favor for purposes of the federal death penalty.
Limit Federal Habeas Relief for Murders of Law Enforcement Officers
- Impose time limits and substantive limits on federal courts’ review of challenges to state-court convictions for crimes involving the murder of a public safety officer, when the public safety officer was engaged in the performance of official duties or on account of the performance of official duties. These changes are consistent with the fast-track procedures created in 1996, which are applied to federal death penalty cases.
Limit Recovery of Certain Damages and Fees for Individuals Engaged in Felonies
- Limit the type of civil damages and attorney’s fees recoverable by a criminal as a result of purported injuries incurred during the commission of a felony or crime of violence.
Expand Self-Defense and Second Amendment Rights for Law Enforcement Officers
- Allow law enforcement officers, subject to limited regulation, to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions where such possession is otherwise prohibited.
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