Rep. Maloney, Original Author of The Debbie Smith Act, Thrilled That Justice For All Act and Debbie Smith Finally are Public Law

Nov 1, 2004
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney applauded the bipartisan coalition of members of Congress, organizations, and crime victims like Debbie Smith for their success in getting H.R. 5107, the “Justice for All Act,” signed into law. The president signed the bill into law just as police in New York State made their first arrest, based on an indictment of a DNA sample (“John Doe”), of a suspect in a sexual assault case from 1996.

On October 6, 2004, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passing H.R. 5107 by a vote of 393-14, and the Senate unanimously passed the legislation three days later. A portion of this 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, as H.R. 3214, the “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act.”

The “Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act of 2003” contains legislation, “The Debbie Smith Act,” introduced by Maloney and Representative Mark Green (R-WI), 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. H.R. 5107 also contains provisions guaranteeing that crime victims have certain rights and “The Innocence Protection Act” which will ensure that federal and state inmates have access to DNA testing.

“I am very proud of all the hard work that led to this bill being signed into law,” Maloney said. “This is a great day for all the victims and survivors of sexual assault. I want to thank Debbie Smith for her courage and dedication on this critical issue. She truly is an inspiration to us all. With the ‘Justice for All Act,’ we will get rapists off the streets and put them in prison where they belong.

“Many people have put a lot of hard work into this landmark law, and I want to commend Congressman Green and Lifetime Television for being at the forefront.”

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.”