Maloney Applauds Passage of the “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act” by Senate Judiciary Committee

Sep 22, 2004
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14) applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 1700, the “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act of 2003” out of committee. The legislation, which will bring long overdue justice to rape victims and their families, passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly on November 5, 2003, 357-67.

The “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act of 2003” contains legislation, “The Debbie Smith Act,” introduced by Maloney and Representative Mark Green (WI-08), that would provide the necessary funding for processing the backlog of DNA evidence, for training Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE), for training prosecutors and law enforcement in using and gathering DNA evidence, and for establishing a national standard for the collection of DNA evidence. The bill also contains “The Innocence Protection Act” which will ensure that federal and state inmates have access to DNA testing.

“I am thrilled that the Senate Judiciary Committee finally has passed legislation that will put rapists in jail,” Maloney said. “I especially want to acknowledge Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Leahy for their hard work and determination to prevent any amendments that would weaken the bill from being attached. It’s now time for the full Senate to pass this bill so that justice will finally be served for the survivors and victims of sexual assault. Let’s send this bill to the President.”

Representative Maloney authored the original “Debbie Smith Act” after Debbie Smith testified before the House Government Reform Committee in June 2001 about using DNA evidence to solve rape cases. Debbie Smith was raped near her home in 1989. For six and a half years, Debbie lived in fear that her attacker would return to kill her. Only on the day that her husband told her that the man who had raped Debbie, who had been identified because of DNA evidence, already was in prison, was Debbie able to live without fear.

H.R. 2874, “The Debbie Smith Act,” which was introduced in the 107th Congress, garnered 160 bipartisan cosponsors and would have authorized $410,000,000 over three years for processing the backlog of DNA evidence and for training Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. H.R. 1046, introduced in the 108th Congress, expands upon the original legislation by authorizing funding for training law enforcement and prosecutors in the handling of DNA evidence and by authorizing the issuance of “John Doe” indictments in federal sexual assault cases. This legislation was encompassed into H.R. 3214, the “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act.”