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New bill means ‘Justice Served'

Last fall I stood at the podium in the 277th District Court, my old courtroom, to announce the signing of the Justice Served Act into law by President Donald Trump.

The Justice Served Act was created to help give closure to victims of violent crime and their families that never received justice. The bill directs funding to state and local jurisdictions to prosecute criminals who have been identified through newly discovered DNA evidence.

Fundamentally, it helps prosecute the perpetrators of cases that have gone cold over the years, because DNA went untested due to the backlog.

This legislation stemmed from local jurisdictions struggling under the financial burden of prosecuting older cases on top of their normal docket. Sometimes a suspect is identified years later due to DNA evidence finally being tested. These cases stack up in an already overwhelmed criminal justice system.

The reality is that money has become an obstacle in prosecution. That means victims of cold cases were going without justice, and violent criminals were able to hide behind the DNA backlog.

As a former judge, I couldn’t let this be the case any longer. Signing this bill creates a new grant available to local and state jurisdictions to use in processing felony cold cases.

Last week, I received notice that this money is now available for our state and local jurisdictions, and it’s great news for the criminal justice community.

A simple Google search will expose thousands upon thousands of cases in which DNA played a major role in solving a crime. The evidence is invaluable, but only if we can adequately and prosecute those criminals who are responsible.

I am proud that my legislation will give our prosecutors the needed resources to prosecute cases that went cold due to untested evidence and bring justice for victims and their families.

With this new funding finally available, justice will be served.

Rep. Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored military installation in the free world. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Army Caucus and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Appropriations. Prior to his service in the United States House, John Carter was Judge of the 277th District Court in Williamson County for 20 years.

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