BALTIMORE, Md - In violent trials nothing helps move the case one way or another better than having a witness that will give a strong testimony. The problem is making sure before they testify—the witness is safe from violence and intimidation.
“Without witnesses, the wheels of justice will come to a screeching halt,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) at the introduction of the Witness Security and Protection Grant Program Act of 2013. Rep. Cummings along U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the legislation today in Washington.
The legislation would direct Attorney Generals to make competitive grants to state and local governments to establish and maintain short-term witness protection programs in cases involving homicides, violent felonies, serious drugs offenses, gang related crimes, or organized crime.
“Our criminal justice system is not working effectively when prosecutors are forced to choose between funding investigations and protecting witnesses” said Cardin “ This legislation will help ensure that state and local prosecutors and other law enforcement officials are equipped with the necessary resources to fight this epidemic this is poisoning our communities.”
The legislation would provide $150 million in competitive grants--$30 million a year for five years—to state, local and tribal governments to establish witness assistance programs.
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