Hoeven Helps Introduce Thin Blue Line Act to Increase Penalties for Targeting Law Enforcement
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) helped introduce legislation, sponsored by Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.), to increase penalties for criminals who target law enforcement and first responders. According to a report from the National Fraternal Order of Police, thirty-four police officers were shot in the U.S. in the first month of this year and the number of officers shot in the line of duty has more than doubled since 2020. In response, the Thin Blue Line Act makes the targeting, killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer, prosecutor or first responder, whether they serve at the federal, state or local level, an aggravating factor in favor of maximum sentences.
“Law enforcement and first responders put their safety and well-being on the line in order to protect our communities and respond to a range of dangerous situations,” said Hoeven. “It is unconscionable that these public servants would be the target of violent crime, and our legislation would help ensure criminals face appropriate penalties for such an offense.”
In addition to Hoeven and Braun, the legislation is sponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.)
- When a jury considers whether to impose the death penalty in a federal case, the jury must consider certain "aggravating" factors.
- Current law states that if the murder victim is a federal law enforcement officer or federal prosecutor, this fact shall weigh as an aggravating factor in favor of the maximum penalty.
- The Thin Blue Line Act provides the same level of justice to local law enforcement officers, prosecutors and first responders.
- It also enhances the penalty when a defendant targets a law enforcement officer, prosecutor or first responder solely because that individual has chosen to protect and serve.
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