AUSTIN, Texas - A new federal law sponsored by a Texas congressman will give some much needed funding to prosecutors across the country to help solve cold cases.
- Funding will grant prosecutors resources to solve cold cases
- Act works in conjunction with Debbie Smith Act
- Was introduced by Texas Sen. John Cornyn
The Justice Served Act works in conjunction with the Debbie Smith Act, which was passed in 2004. The Debbie Smith Act created a program to help with the backlog of untested DNA evidence.
The Justice Served Act will take 5 to 7 percent of the funding from that act to issue grants to prosecutors across the country to prosecute cases, where suspects have been identified through DNA evidence. The law will help with cold case sexual assaults as well as homicides.
Rep. John Carter spoke with prosecutors in his home of Williamson County and across the country to get a better understanding of the backlog of violent crime cases.
"People can start taking these old cold case files, activating them, prosecuting them, and bringing justice for the victims that were for a long time sitting on the shelf, so this is kind of a culmination of a lot of people deciding that these cold case files had to be worked," said Carter.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick says this funding is crucial to his office.
"Particularly in Texas, we talk about the need for more resources. It not only allows us to seek convictions for those who are truly guilty of the offense they are charged with, but it also allows us to clear people who are wrongfully charged," he said.
The law had bipartisan support and was introduced over the summer by Sen. John Cornyn.
President Trump signed it on Tuesday.