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Gonzales outlines new DOJ efforts to counter violent crime

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Friday announced draft legislation [press release] to combat violent crime that would increase penalties, extend the statute of limitations for prosecution, and create separate statutory prohibitions against violent crime by illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive]. The proposed Violent Crime and Anti-Terrorism Act of 2007, brought forward just days after FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs John Miller said that a forthcoming FBI report would detail a nationwide increase in murders, robberies and other violent crimes [JURIST report] for a second straight year, also seeks to restore the binding nature of sentencing guidelines, which the US Supreme Court found to be merely advisory [JURIST report] in US v. Booker [text]. The legislation would also expand federal narcotics law, sexual predator law, and anti-terrorism law.

Gonzales also announced the expansion of violent crime task forces [ATF backgrounder, PDF] into four new cities: Mesa, AZ; Orlando, FL; San Bernardino, CA; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. In a statement made at the ATF Headquarters, Gonzales said that the four cities were chosen because they asked for help following an "unacceptable increase in homicides or other violent crimes" [statement text]. The addition of the four cities means that 29 US cities are now covered in the Violent Crime Impact Team program. Friday's proposals do not increase funding for individual communities' own law enforcement groups. AFP has more. AP has additional coverage.

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