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Hyde-Smith cosponsors act which would aid prosecutors against violent, repeat offenders



Cindy Hyde Smith
U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R – Miss.) cosponsored the Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), which would reinstate a tool for prosecutors to seek enhanced penalties to those who are violent and repeat offenders, and the Back the Blue act, which would create a measure to increase the penalties for those who intentionally target law enforcement officers, and supply officers with new tools to defend themselves.

The legislation (s.1586) was introduced by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).  The measure is aimed at correcting shortcomings in the original Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984.

The bill targets and corrects an error of vagueness identified by the Supreme Court in 2015, using terms such as “violent felony” and “serious drug offense” and replaces them with a “serious felony” category. The change would offer clarity to federal sentencing and provide prosecutors an additional tool to career criminals.

“At a time when crime rates are increasing across the country, we need to do all we can to ensure prosecutors and judges have the tools they need to keep the most violent, serial offenders off the streets,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation would do just that by fixing shortcomings in an older law that attempted to address how to protect the public from those who repeatedly commit serious felonies.”

“When the Supreme Court effectively voided the ACCA in its decision in Johnson v. United States in 2015 due to part of the definition of ‘violent felony’ being unconstitutionally vague, it took away an important tool that law enforcement used to get the worst career criminals off our streets. The Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act will fix the ACCA by using a specific definition for ‘serious felony’ and restore the Act, thus giving prosecutors and law enforcement back a significant resource in the fight against violent crime,” said William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.

The Back the Blue Act (S. 1599) would increase the penalties for those who intentionally target law enforcement. A background on the act can be found here.


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