We’re dealing with a revolving-door justice system in the United States. Progressive jurisdictions just bounce perpetrators and predators back and forth from the back of police cars to holding cells and, all too often, back onto the street. A bill just introduced in the House of Representatives aims to require prosecutors to prosecute certain crimes. Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis introduced H.R.27 – Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act on January 9, 2023.
This bill requires certain state and local prosecutors to report data on criminal referrals and outcomes of cases involving murder or non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, arson, or any offense involving the illegal use or possession of a firearm.
The reporting requirement applies to state and local prosecutors in a jurisdiction with 380,000 or more persons that receives funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. The report must contain data on
- cases referred for prosecution,
- cases declined for prosecution,
- cases resulting in a plea agreement with the defendant,
- cases initiated against defendants with previous arrests or convictions, and
- defendants charged who were released or eligible for bail.
This measure might not solve all our problems in the criminal justice system. However, it will help combat the practice of supporting prosecutors who vow to outside entities that they’ll allow chaos to ensue in their jurisdictions. Accountability might be achieved.
The text of the bill indicates an extensive list of original cosponsors.
Ms. Malliotakis (for herself, Mr. Reschenthaler, Ms. Stefanik, Ms. Van Duyne, Mr. Newhouse, Mr. Johnson of Louisiana, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Crenshaw, Mr. Issa, Mr. Stauber, Mr. Calvert, Mrs. Lesko, Mr. Joyce of Pennsylvania … Mr. Webster of Florida, Mrs. Cammack, Mr. McClintock, Mrs. Greene of Georgia, and Mr. Moylan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
One of the features built into the bill is that once all the prosecutors and district attorneys report to the Attorney General, the Attorney General is required to create a report that’ll be publically available.
(3) SUBMISSION TO JUDICIARY COMMITTEES.—The Attorney General shall submit the information received under this subsection to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and shall publish such information on a publicly viewable website.
Having such information reported on will arm the population, as well as those who wish to truthfully report on such statistics, with information on potential bad actors. While some of these positions are elected, and others appointed, having the data for all to see can affect both categories of persons. If the bill had provisions that would have a little teeth, that would be nice, but we’ll have to deal with scrutiny via public opinion as a punitive measure.
This is the first bill of 2023 that I’m reporting on. There’s already a big pile worthy of bringing up. We’re dealing with a rather lame-duck session. The House Speaker can mutter all he wants about promises kept, but we’d be fooling ourselves if we purported that any of these pro-liberty bills or pro-commonsense ones will pass both chambers and find their way to the Resolute Desk. Are we in a better position than we were a few weeks ago? Absolutely. But as far as legislation goes, we’re going to be best situated to hold the line. Given the makeup, we’ll have to be ready for further executive overreach.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article listed Representative Victoria Spartz (IN-5) as an original cosponsor of the Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act, as quoted in the text of the bill. Rep. Spartz has since withdrawn.