House passes bill to give more rights to family members of federal homicide victims News
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House passes bill to give more rights to family members of federal homicide victims

The Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act, a bipartisan bill that gives families of homicide victims in federal cases more rights, passed the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday with a vote of 406-20 and is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

Under the bill, immediate family members of a homicide victim in a federal case are given the right to request a review of the case file if the murder was committed over three years ago, investigative leads have been exhausted, and a likely perpetrator has not been identified.

“When homicides go unsolved, the pain is compounded and can be unbearable for families,” Kirschner stated. “This bill gives those families not just a voice but a legal right to request a review or full reinvestigation of the homicide of their loved one. Victims and their families deserve precisely the kind of right this bill delivers.”

Further, if a cold case is taken under review, the bill requires the federal government to reach out to relatives of homicide victims to alert them of any updates. Under the act, data will be collected regarding problems with cold cases.

In response to the House passing the bill, Swalwell stated, “Advancing this bill means advancing justice and accountability so that grieving families have a better chance of getting the closure and healing they deserve.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) introduced the bill and worked on it with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas). Swalwell is a former Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, CA, and McCaul is a former federal prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General of Texas. Other former federal prosecutors, Glenn Kirschner and Katharine Manning helped draft the bill as well. Kirschner and manning specialize in victims’ rights and services.