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Text of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act

This bill was introduced on June 14, 2007, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 20, 2007 (Reported by Senate Committee).

Source: GPO

II

Calendar No. 211

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 535

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 8, 2007

(for himself, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Schumer, Ms. Landrieu, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Specter, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Biden, and Mr. Obama) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

June 20, 2007

Reported by , with an amendment and an amendment to the title

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To establish an Unsolved Crimes Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and an Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that all authorities with jurisdiction, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other entities within the Department of Justice, should—

(1)

expeditiously investigate unsolved civil rights murders, due to the amount of time that has passed since the murders and the age of potential witnesses; and

(2)

provide all the resources necessary to ensure timely and thorough investigations in the cases involved.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Chief investigator

The term Chief Investigator means the Chief Investigator of the Unit.

(2)

Criminal civil rights statutes

The term criminal civil rights statutes means—

(A)

section 241 of title 18, United States Code (relating to conspiracy against rights);

(B)

section 242 of title 18, United States Code (relating to deprivation of rights under color of law);

(C)

section 245 of title 18, United States Code (relating to federally protected activities);

(D)

sections 1581 and 1584 of title 18, United States Code (relating to involuntary servitude and peonage);

(E)

section 901 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3631); and

(F)

any other Federal law that—

(i)

was in effect on or before December 31, 1969; and

(ii)

the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enforced, prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

(3)

Office

The term Office means the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office established under section 5.

(4)

Deputy

The term Deputy means the Deputy for the Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crimes Unit.

(5)

Unit

The term Unit (except when used as part of the term Criminal Section) means the Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crimes Unit established under section 4.

4.

Establishment of Section in civil rights division

(a)

In General

There is established in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice an Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crimes Unit. The Unit shall be headed by a Deputy for the Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crimes Unit.

(b)

Responsibility

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, and except as provided in section 5, the Deputy shall be responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases in which a complaint alleges that such a violation—

(A)

occurred not later than December 31, 1969; and

(B)

resulted in a death.

(2)

Coordination

(A)

Investigative activities

In investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), the Deputy shall coordinate investigative activities with State and local law enforcement officials.

(B)

Venue

After investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), or receiving a report of an investigation conducted under section 5, if the Deputy determines that an alleged practice that is a violation of a criminal civil rights statute occurred in a State, or political subdivision of a State, that has a State or local law prohibiting the practice alleged and establishing or authorizing a State or local law enforcement official to grant or seek relief from such practice or to institute criminal proceedings with respect to the practice on receiving notice of the practice, the Deputy shall consult with the official regarding the appropriate venue for the case involved.

(3)

Referral

After investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), or receiving a report of an investigation conducted under section 5, the Deputy shall refer the complaint to the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, if the Deputy determines that the subject of the complaint has violated a criminal civil rights statute in the case involved but the violation does not meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1).

(c)

Study and Report

(1)

Study

The Deputy shall annually conduct a study of the cases under the jurisdiction of the Deputy or under the jurisdiction of the Chief Investigator and, in conducting the study, shall determine the cases—

(A)

for which the Deputy has sufficient evidence to prosecute violations of criminal civil rights statutes; and

(B)

for which the Deputy has insufficient evidence to prosecute those violations.

(2)

Report

Not later than September 30 of 2007 and of each subsequent year, the Deputy shall prepare and submit to Congress a report containing the results of the study conducted under paragraph (1), including a description of the cases described in paragraph (1)(B).

5.

Establishment of Office in Federal Bureau of Investigation

(a)

In General

There is established in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice an Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office. The Office shall be headed by a Deputy Investigator.

(b)

Responsibility

(1)

In general

In accordance with an agreement established between the Deputy Investigator and the Deputy, the Deputy Investigator shall be responsible for investigating violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases described in section 4(b).

(2)

Coordination

(A)

Investigative activities

In investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), the Deputy Investigator shall coordinate the investigative activities with State and local law enforcement officials.

(B)

Referral

After investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), the Deputy Investigator shall—

(i)

determine whether the subject of the complaint has violated a criminal rights statute in the case involved; and

(ii)

refer the complaint to the Deputy, together with a report containing the determination and the results of the investigation.

(C)

Resources

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in coordination with the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, shall have discretion to re-allocate investigative personnel to jurisdictions to carry out the goals of this section.

6.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 and each subsequent fiscal year through 2017. These funds shall be allocated by the Attorney General to the Unsolved Civil Rights Era Crime Unit of the Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to advance the purposes set forth in this Act.

(b)

Additional appropriations

Any funds appropriated under this section shall consist of additional appropriations for the activities described in this Act, rather than funds made available through reductions in the appropriations authorized for other enforcement activities of the Department of Justice.

(c)

Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice

In addition to any amounts authorized to be appropriated under title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000h et seq.), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice $1,500,000 for fiscal year 2008 and each subsequent fiscal year, to enable the Service (in carrying out the functions described in title X of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000g et seq.)) to provide technical assistance by bringing together law enforcement agencies and communities in the investigation of violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases described in section 4(b).

7.

Sunset

Sections 1 through 6 of this Act shall expire at the end of fiscal year 2017.

8.

Authority of Inspectors General

Title XXXVII of the Crime Control Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 5779 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

3703.

Authority of Inspectors General

(a)

In general

An Inspector General appointed under section 3 or 8G of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) may authorize staff to assist the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—

(1)

by conducting reviews of inactive case files to develop recommendations for further investigations; and

(2)

by engaging in similar activities.

(b)

Limitations

(1)

Priority

An Inspector General may not permit staff to engage in activities described in subsection (a) if such activities will interfere with the duties of the Inspector General under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).

(2)

Funding

No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section.

.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that all authorities with jurisdiction, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other entities within the Department of Justice, should—

(1)

expeditiously investigate unsolved civil rights murders, due to the amount of time that has passed since the murders and the age of potential witnesses; and

(2)

provide all the resources necessary to ensure timely and thorough investigations in the cases involved.

3.

Deputy Chief in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division

(a)

In General

The Attorney General shall designate a Deputy Chief in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

(b)

Responsibility

(1)

In general

The Deputy Chief shall be responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and coordinating the investigation and prosecution of violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases in which a complaint alleges that such a violation occurred not later than December 31, 1969, and resulted in a death.

(2)

Coordination

In investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), the Deputy Chief may coordinate investigative activities with State and local law enforcement officials.

(c)

Study and Report

(1)

Study

The Attorney General shall annually conduct a study of the cases under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Chief or under the jurisdiction of the Supervisory Special Agent described in section 4 and, in conducting the study, shall determine—

(A)

the number of open investigations within the Department of Justice of violations of criminal civil rights statutes described in subsection (b)(1);

(B)

the number of cases described in subsection (b)(1)—

(i)

for the first study under this subsection, that were opened pursuant to this Act since the date of enactment of this Act; and

(ii)

for each subsequent study, that were opened pursuant to this Act since the previous study under this subsection;

(C)

the number of unsealed Federal cases involving such violations for which charges were filed within the study period, and the case names, the jurisdictions in which the charges were filed, and the dates the charges were filed;

(D)
(i)

the number of cases involving such violations that were referred by the Department of Justice to a State or local law enforcement agency or prosecutor within the study period, the number of such cases that resulted in State or local charges being filed, the jurisdictions in which the charges were filed, and the dates the charges were filed; and

(ii)

the case names for any unsealed Federal cases in which actions by State and local law enforcement officials have left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in the investigation and prosecution of incidents relating to criminal civil rights statutes, and the reasons for any related decisions by Federal officials not to coordinate investigation and prosecution with the State and local officials;

(E)

the number of cases involving such violations that were closed within the study period without Federal prosecution, the case names of such cases that were unsealed Federal cases, the dates the cases described in this subparagraph were closed, and the relevant Federal statutes;

(F)

the number of attorneys who worked, in whole or in part, on any case described in subsection (b)(1); and

(G)

the number of applications submitted for grants under section 5, the number of awards of such grants, and the purposes for which the grant amounts were expended.

(2)

Report

Not later than the day that is 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and that day of each year thereafter, the Attorney General shall prepare and submit to Congress a report containing the results of the study conducted under paragraph (1).

4.

Supervisory special agent in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

(a)

In General

The Attorney General shall designate a Supervisory Special Agent in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice.

(b)

Responsibility

(1)

In general

The Supervisory Special Agent shall be responsible for investigating violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases described in section 3(b)(1).

(2)

Coordination

In investigating a complaint under paragraph (1), the Supervisory Special Agent may coordinate the investigative activities with State and local law enforcement officials.

5.

Grants to State and local law enforcement

(a)

In general

The Attorney General may award grants to State or local law enforcement agencies for expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of violations of State or local laws that are similar to the Federal criminal civil rights statutes.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2017.

6.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General, for the purpose of carrying out the activities described in sections 3 and 4, in addition to any other another amounts authorized to be appropriated for that purpose, $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2017. The Attorney General shall allocate funds described in this subsection to the Deputy Chief described in section 3 and the Supervisory Special Agent described in section 4 to advance that purpose.

(b)

Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice

In addition to any amounts authorized to be appropriated under title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000h et seq.), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice $1,500,000 for fiscal year 2008 and each subsequent fiscal year, to enable the Service (in carrying out the functions described in title X of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000g et seq.)) to provide technical assistance by bringing together law enforcement agencies and communities in the investigation of violations of criminal civil rights statutes, in cases described in section 3(b)(1).

7.

Definition

In this Act, the term criminal civil rights statutes means—

(1)

section 241 of title 18, United States Code (relating to conspiracy against rights);

(2)

section 242 of title 18, United States Code (relating to deprivation of rights under color of law);

(3)

section 245 of title 18, United States Code (relating to federally protected activities);

(4)

sections 1581 and 1584 of title 18, United States Code (relating to involuntary servitude and peonage);

(5)

section 901 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3631); and

(6)

any other Federal law that—

(A)

was in effect on or before December 31, 1969; and

(B)

the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enforced, prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

8.

Sunset

Sections 2 through 7 of this Act shall expire at the end of fiscal year 2017.

9.

Authority of Inspectors General

Title XXXVII of the Crime Control Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 5779 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

3703.

Authority of Inspectors General

(a)

In general

An Inspector General appointed under section 3 or 8G of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) may authorize staff to assist the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—

(1)

by conducting reviews of inactive case files to develop recommendations for further investigations; and

(2)

by engaging in similar activities.

(b)

Limitations

(1)

Priority

An Inspector General may not permit staff to engage in activities described in subsection (a) if such activities will interfere with the duties of the Inspector General under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).

(2)

Funding

No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section.

.

Amend the title so as to read: A bill to provide for the investigation of certain unsolved civil rights crimes, and for other purposes..

June 20, 2007

Reported with an amendment and an amendment to the title