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Dewine Cosponsored Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Bill Passes Committee

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Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, today applauds his Committee colleagues for passing the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, and sending it to the Senate floor for consideration. This bill, sponsored by Senators Jim Talent (R-MO) and Chris Dodd (D-CT), and cosponsored by Senator DeWine, would create two new offices to investigate and prosecute unsolved murder cases from the Civil Rights era.

"This measure would help shed light on a very dark time in our Nation's history," said Senator DeWine. "These new units would help bring to justice the people who committed horrendous crimes and have remained free for decades as well as bring closure for relatives of crime victims. As the recent conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers demonstrates, the United States does not tolerate racially motivated murders and even though decades have passed, justice must be served."

An Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office would be created within the FBI's Civil Rights Unit and would be responsible for investigating pre-1970 unsolved murder cases in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. In addition, an Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crime Unit would be created within the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and would focus on prosecuting these cases. This bill would authorize $10 million annually to fund these new offices.

A Community Relations Service would also be created and would work with local communities to identify unsolved civil rights cases. The Act would authorize this office to receive $1.5 million annually. These three new units would work together to bring murderers to justice. If a crime is identified that did not result in murder, the offices would refer other unsolved civil rights violations to the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department Justice.

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