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Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016


Pinnacle

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IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
 

Mr. Pinnacle (for himself, Mr. Burr, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Leahy, and Mr. Blunt) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

 


A BILL

To reauthorize the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007. 

 
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016”.

SEC. 2. INVESTIGATION OF UNSOLVED CIVIL RIGHTS CRIMES.

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 (28 U.S.C. 509 note) is amended—

(1) in section 2—

  (A) in paragraph (1), by striking “and” at the end;

  (B) in paragraph (2), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

  (C) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

“(3) meet regularly with eligible entities to coordinate the sharing of information and to discuss the status of the Department’s work under this Act;

“(4) support the full accounting of all victims whose deaths or disappearances were the result of racially motivated crimes;

“(5) hold accountable under Federal and State law all individuals who were perpetrators of, or accomplices in, unsolved civil rights murders and such disappearances;

“(6) express the condolences of the authority to the communities affected by unsolved civil rights murders, and to the families of the victims of such murders and such disappearances;

“(7) keep families regularly informed about the status of the investigations of such murders and such disappearances of their loved ones; and

“(8) expeditiously comply with requests for information received pursuant to section 552 of title 5, United States Code, (commonly known as the ‘Freedom of Information Act’) and develop a singular, publicly accessible repository of these disclosed documents.”; 

(2) in section 3—

  (A) in subsection (b)—

    (i) in paragraph (1), by striking “1969” and inserting “1979”;

    (ii) in paragraph (2), by inserting before the period at the end the following: “, and eligible entities”; and

    (iii) by adding after paragraph (2) the following:

“(3) REVIEW OF CLOSED CASES.—The Deputy Chief may, to the extent practicable, reopen and review any case involving a violation described in paragraph (1) that was closed prior to the date of the enactment of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 without an in-person investigation or review conducted by an officer or employee of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice or by an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“(4) PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT.—

  “(A) IN GENERAL.—The Department shall hold meetings with representatives of the Civil Rights Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Community Relations Service, eligible entities, and where appropriate, state and local law enforcement to discuss the status of the Department’s work under this Act.

  “(B) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—In addition to amounts made available to carry out this Act under section 6, there is authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General $2,500,000 for fiscal year 2017 and each of the next 10 subsequent fiscal years to carry out this paragraph.”; and 

  (B) in subsection (c)—

    (i) in paragraph (1)—

      (I) in subparagraph (A), by striking “1969” and inserting “1979”;

      (II) in subparagraph (F), by striking “and” at the end;

      (III) in subparagraph (G), by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”; and

      (IV) by inserting after subparagraph (G) the following:

“(H) the number of cases referred by an eligible entity or a State or local law enforcement agency or prosecutor to the Department within the study period, the number of such cases that resulted in Federal charges being filed, the date the charges were filed, and if the Department declines to prosecute or participate in an investigation of a case so referred, the fact that it did so, and the outreach, collaboration, and support for investigations and prosecutions of violations of criminal civil rights statutes described in section 2(3), including murders and including disappearances described in section 2(4), within Federal, State, and local jurisdictions.”; and 

    (ii) in paragraph (2), by inserting before the period at the end the following: “and a description of the activities conducted under subsection (b)(3)”;

(3) in section 4(b)—

  (A) in paragraph (1), by striking “1969” and inserting “1979”; and

  (B) in paragraph (2), by inserting before the period at the end the following: “, and eligible entities”;

(4) in section 5—

  (A) in subsection (a), by striking “1969” and inserting “1979”; and

  (B) in subsection (b), by striking “each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2017” and inserting “fiscal year 2017 and each of the 10 subsequent fiscal years”; and

(5) in section 6—

  (A) in subsection (a)—

    (i) by striking “each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2017” and inserting “fiscal year 2017 and each of the 10 subsequent fiscal years”; and

    (ii) by striking “1969” and inserting “1979”; and

  (B) by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

“(b) Community Relations Service Of The Department Of Justice.—Using funds appropriated under section 3(b)(4)(B), the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice shall provide technical assistance by bringing together law enforcement agencies and communities to address tensions raised by Civil Rights era crimes.”; 

(6) in section 7—

  (A) in the heading, by striking “DEFINITION OF “CRIMINAL CIVIL RIGHTS STATUTES”” and inserting “DEFINITIONS”;

  (B) in paragraph (6), by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively, and indenting the clauses accordingly;

  (C) by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (6) as subparagraphs (A) through (F), respectively, and indenting the subparagraphs accordingly;

  (D) by striking “In this Act, the term” and inserting: “In this Act:

“(1) CRIMINAL CIVIL RIGHTS STATUTES.—The term”; and 

  (E) by inserting at the end the following:

“(2) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—The term ‘eligible entity’ means an organization whose primary purpose is to promote civil rights, an institution of higher education, or another entity, determined by the Attorney General to be appropriate.”; and

(7) by striking section 8.

 

SEC. 3. PES.

This bill reauthorizes the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 (Emmett Till Act) and expands the responsibilities of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to include the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights statutes violations that occurred before 1980 and resulted in a death. (Currently, Emmett Till Act investigations are limited to violations that occurred before 1970.)

The bill expresses the sense of Congress that all authorities with jurisdiction should: (1) meet regularly with civil rights organizations, institutions of higher education, and DOJ-designated entities to coordinate information sharing and discuss the status of DOJ's Emmett Till Act work; (2) support the full accounting of all victims whose deaths or disappearances were the result of racially motivated crimes; (3) hold accountable under federal and state law individuals who were perpetrators of, or accomplices in, unsolved civil rights murders and disappearances; (4) keep families regularly informed about the status of the investigations; and (5) expeditiously comply with Freedom of Information Act requests and develop a singular, publicly accessible repository of these disclosed documents.

In investigating a complaint, DOJ may coordinate activities with entities that DOJ determines to be appropriate. 

DOJ may reopen and review cases closed without an in-person investigation conducted by DOJ or the FBI.

DOJ must hold meetings with the Civil Rights Division, the FBI, the Community Relations Service, civil rights organizations, institutions of higher education, DOJ-designated entities, and state and local law enforcement to discuss the status of its Emmett Till Act work.

In an annual report to Congress, DOJ must indicate: 

-  the number of cases referred by a civil rights organization, an institution of higher education, or a state or local law enforcement agency; 

-  the number of such cases that resulted in federal charges; 

-  the date any such charges were filed; 

-  whether DOJ has declined to prosecute or participate in an investigation of a referred case; 

-  the outreach, collaboration, and support for investigations and prosecutions of violations of criminal civil rights statutes, including murders and disappearances; and 

-  any activity on reopened cases. 

The Community Relations Service must provide technical assistance by bringing together law enforcement agencies and communities to address tensions raised by civil rights era crimes.

Congress & Supreme Court Admin


Admin NPCs:
Rep. Derek H. Gray (D-TX-20)

Speaker of the House & Democratic Party Chair

 

The Hon. John Roberts

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

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