Leahy & Cornyn introduce the Leahy-Hatch Justice For All Act Reauthorization

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), joined by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Amy Klobuchar (MN), Thursday introduced the Patrick Leahy and Orrin G. Hatch Justice For All Reauthorization Act of 2022. The Justice for All Act was originally enacted in 2004 as a groundbreaking piece of bipartisan criminal justice legislation, authored by a bipartisan coalition of senators including Leahy.

Leahy and Cornyn led the reauthorizations of the Justice For All Act in 2013 and 2016. The programs authorized under the Justice for All Act improve forensic science and access to justice, increase the fairness and accuracy of the criminal legal system, and enhance protections for crime victims.

This reauthorization notably expands the opportunities to address wrongful convictions. The bill codifies the more than 10-year-old Wrongful Conviction Review program to provide grants for high quality investigations and representation in post-conviction claims of innocence. The bill also creates a pilot conviction integrity review grant program within prosecutors’ offices.

Leahy said: “I am both humbled and proud to introduce the Patrick Leahy and Orrin G. Hatch Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2022 with Senators Cornyn, Tillis and Klobuchar, and I thank them for deciding that our proposed law would be named for the late Senator Orrin Hatch and me. Our bill builds on the bipartisan work I began with Senator Hatch more than 20 years ago to ensure that people who have been wrongfully convicted have access to effective post-conviction representation as well as post-conviction DNA testing in cases where the system got it wrong. Our legislation also ensures that crime victims rights’ are protected as they seek justice. This 2022 reauthorization effort notably expands access to the Kirk Bloodsworth Post Conviction DNA Testing Grant Program so that more innocent people will have a better chance to win back their liberty and clear their names. Kirk was the first American exonerated from a death row crime by DNA evidence, and I am proud that this program which I authored remains a cornerstone of this legislation. All of the programs in the Justice for All Act make a real difference for individuals involved the criminal justice system and their families. We owe it to them to get this bill enacted without delay.”

Cornyn said: “Too often crime victims in our country aren’t treated with the sort of fairness and respect that they deserve,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will improve access to legal and health care resources for all victims, and it will ensure that we’re efficiently providing direct services for crime victims on a national basis.”

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Sept. 29, 2022) -- Senator Patrick Leahy