Given everything that has transpired in the halls of Congress over the last several months, it has been somewhat difficult keeping track of seemingly more mundane matters, including the drafting, debate and passage of legislation.
Indeed, amid all of the coverage surrounding everything from health care and the budget to congressional investigations and hearings, there has been relatively little reporting on a tough-on-crime bill that, if passed, could drastically alter the legal landscape as it relates to crimes against the law enforcement community.
What is this tough-on-crime bill?
The measure in question, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), is the Back the Blue Act of 2017. If passed, it would create a host of new federal crimes and insulate law enforcement officials from most civil liability.
What new crimes would the Back the Blue Act create?
The legislation calls for the creation of new federal crimes covering the conspiracy to kill, attempt to kill or killing of a judge, first responder, federal agent, or local law enforcement officer working for an agency that receives federal funds (which is almost every local police department and sheriff’s department across the nation).
It also calls for the creation of new crimes covering the assault of the above-mentioned parties and flight to avoid prosecution for these offenses.
What penalties would be assessed for these new federal crimes?
The Back the Blue Act dictates the following severe penalties:
- Attempts/Conspiracies to kill a judge, first responder, federal agent, or local law enforcement officer: A mandatory minimum of 10 years
- Killing a judge, first responder, federal agent, or local law enforcement officer: A mandatory minimum of 30 years with the option of pursuing the federal death penalty
- Assaulting a judge, first responder, federal agent, or local law enforcement officer: A mandatory minimum of 2 to 10 years if the assault resulted in bodily harm with the sentence dependent on the degree of harm inflicted; An additional 20-year mandatory minimum if a dangerous weapon was used; A mandatory minimum of one year if no bodily harm resulted
- Fleeing to avoid prosecution for the above-referenced crimes: A mandatory minimum of 10 years
We’ll continue discussing more about the Back the Blue Act in our next post, including the civil liability provisions and why so many are speaking out against its passage.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with any manner of federal offense — whether related to drugs, weapons, finances or violence — consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.