McConnell Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Aid Crime Victims

Sen. McConnell welcomed Debbie Smith and her husband, Rob Smith, to his office in the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. McConnell welcomed Debbie Smith and her husband, Rob Smith, to his office in the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will join Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Christopher Coons (D-DE) as a cosponsor of the Justice for All Act, which will help law enforcement crime laboratories eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA samples and improve timely use of DNA technology for crime victims.

Included in the Justice for All Act is the reauthorization of the Debbie Smith Act, which provides resources to crime labs in Kentucky and across the country to help reduce the backlog of untested rape kits and other DNA evidence. The legislation is named after Debbie Smith, who waited several years after being attacked before her rape kit was tested and the perpetrator was caught. Mrs. Smith, a national advocate for rape victims, met with Senator McConnell Thursday in his office and shared her invaluable perspective about the need to eliminate the DNA backlog. She thanked him for his support of the legislation and for his prior efforts to strengthen it.

Senator McConnell said, “I was moved by meeting with Debbie and listening about her advocacy work. As a father of three daughters, I am glad to cosponsor this legislation to help protect Kentuckians by further expanding the Kentucky State Police Lab’s capabilities in speeding up investigations and aiding criminal prosecutions.”

Being a participant in this program has allowed Kentucky State Police Crime Laboratory to reduce its rape kit backlog and increase its processing capacity.

“The Kentucky State Police Laboratories fully support the reauthorization of the Justice for All Act. The Debbie Smith Act has provided resources for our DNA Section of the Laboratories to increase capacity. This in turn has allowed the Kentucky State Police to steadily decrease the amount of time required for an unworked case to sit in line. The Kentucky State Police commend Senator McConnell for his leadership and support of the reauthorization of the Justice for All Act,” said Laura‎ Sudkamp, the Laboratory Director at Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratories.

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