February 27, 2018

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Help Prosecute Criminals in DNA Cold Cases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored the Justice Served Act of 2018, legislation led by Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that would provide funds to prosecute cold cases when criminals have been identified through DNA evidence and exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit.  

“DNA technology allows the possibility of a breakthrough in unsolved crimes, which could bring closure and long-awaited justice to victims and their families,” said Cortez Masto. “This bill will help make sure that state and local law enforcement have the resources they need to prosecute crimes where suspects have been identified through DNA evidence.” 

Cortez Masto also cosponsored the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act. It was signed into law in January and will reauthorize, strengthen, and extend the Sexual Assault Forensic Reporting program to help fight the nationwide rape kit backlog.     


The Justice Served Act of 2018 would provide funds for the prosecution of crimes cleared through DNA. This legislation brings results to the courthouse and resolves these cases by: 

  • Authorizing five to seven percent of funds under the Debbie Smith Act to be used to prosecute cold cases;
  • Enhancing prosecutors’ capacity to follow through on what Congress has started with the funding of programs to solve these cases through advances in DNA forensic analysis;
  • Bringing justice to the victims of crime and their families by giving prosecutors the tools they need to investigate, solve, and close cold cases;
  • Giving families closure after sometimes waiting decades for their loved ones’ murderers to be identified through new DNA analysis of old crime scene evidence; and
  • Helping exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit with new DNA testing results.  

This legislation has been endorsed by the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the National Association of Police Organizations.