EXCLUSIVE – Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz presented a invoice that would offer additional justice to legislation enforcement officials killed within the line of accountability.
Cruz is pushing a brand new legislation that may give prosecutors extra energy to hunt the loss of life penalty in circumstances the place anyone is convicted of murdering a federal legislation enforcement officer.
Cruz informed Fox News Digital the invoice would save you circumstances comparable to a 2013 incident in Pennsylvania, the place an inmate serving a existence sentence killed federal correctional officer Eric Williams – and gained no further punishment.
“Eric’s Law,” presented Tuesday, is called after Williams, who was once stabbed greater than 200 instances with two shanks by means of the inmate, who in brief paused right through the 11-minute assault to take gum from the officer’s pocket and chunk it.
The convict was once already serving a existence sentence for a gang-related homicide when he killed the officer and gained the similar sentence for killing Williams as a result of a jury was once deadlocked over whether or not to condemn him to loss of life.
“Eric Williams had his life taken from him through the actions of a vicious criminal. Eric’s family similarly had justice taken from them through the inability of a jury to reach a unanimous decision,” Cruz solely informed Fox News Digital.
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“Our brave men and women in uniform—like corrections officers, police, sheriff’s deputies, and federal law enforcement—undertake a tremendous risk to their safety each and every day, and this bill will ensure justice is done in those terrible instances where their life is taken from them,” Cruz stated. “We must do everything in our power to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring, and that is why I am proud to introduce this legislation.”
The inmate, Jessie Con-Ui, was once discovered to blame in 2017 of murdering Williams, however he didn’t obtain a loss of life sentence for the killing as a result of one juror out of the 12 was once a holdout.
Prison officers spoke out quickly after the sentencing, sounding off the loss of capital punishment within the case put a goal at the backs of legislation enforcement officials and signaled “it’s OK to kill federal corrections officers,” the Times Leader reported on the time.
The invoice, which was once co-sponsored by means of Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would permit, however now not require, federal prosecutors to impanel a 2d jury if the primary jury is not able to decide on a loss of life penalty sentencing. The legislation would handiest follow to capital sentencing hearings.
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The invoice has gained fortify from more than a few legislation enforcement teams, together with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Council of Prison Locals, the National Association of Police Organizations, in addition to the slain correctional officer’s father.
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FOP President Patrick Yoes informed Fox News Digital that “when justice is not served in the murder of a federal law enforcement officer, it sends a message throughout the ranks of law enforcement that their sacrifice, up to and including the loss of their own life, is meaningless.”
“Under current Federal law, the murder of a federal law enforcement officer is a capital offense. However, if the officer’s killer is found guilty of murder and the federal prosecutor seeks the death penalty in the sentencing phase, the jury must consider and vote on whether to impose it. Unfortunately, the decision of the jury must be unanimous—a single dissenting juror can prevent justice from being served,” Yoes persevered.
Don Williams – Eric Williams’ father and the president of the non-profit Voices of J.O.E., which stands up for fallen correctional officials and seeks to create more secure prisons – stated that beneath present federal legislation, “a lone juror can make a biased decision that becomes irreversible.”
“This is not in keeping with the spirit of our ‘trial by jury.’ Eric’s Law allows that, just as in the guilt phase of a trial, during the sentencing phase if a jury deadlocks, the prosecution has the right to retry the case. This allows for a fair and equal system in our courts for the victims’ family as it does for the accused,” he stated.
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The new invoice is modeled after state regulations already at the books in California and Arizona. The presidents of each the Law Enforcement Officers Association and the National Council of Prison Locals stated they “applaud” Cruz for introducing the invoice.
“This essential piece of legislation brings a common sense approach to both Officer safety and the rights of the victims of violent crime,” Shane Fausey, the nationwide president of the National Council of Prison Locals, stated.
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, stated that if the invoice is handed into legislation, it might “ensure the full weight of the justice system can be brought to bear against some of our nation’s most dangerous criminals, particularly those that target law enforcement.”
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Con-Ui, 46, is these days being held at ADX Florence in Colorado, a supermax jail nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”
The inmate stated right through his trial he was once “sorry” that the killing led to “heartache and pain” and that he’ll all the time “feel shame for taking an innocent man’s life.” In earlier testimony, he indicated that he killed Williams as a result of he felt disrespected, in step with the Times Leader on the time of the trial and sentencing.
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“The goal of the legislation is to seek unanimity in sentencing recommendations, whether that recommendation be for capital punishment, life in prison, or a lesser punishment. NAPO thanks Senator Cruz for his leadership on this important bill,” Bill Johnson, the manager director of the National Association of Police Organizations, stated.