Louisiana’s Sen. Kennedy introduces bill targeting ‘woke prosecutors’ who fail to charge violent offenders

FILE - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation...
FILE - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of then Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)(Alex Brandon | AP)
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 4:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) introduced a bill Tuesday (Feb. 7) that would strip federal funding from the offices of local district attorneys who fail to prosecute violent criminals.

The Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act would require elected district attorneys to “report violent crimes that they fail to charge criminals with committing,” Kennedy’s office said in a statement. “Prosecutors who fail to report these decisions risk losing priority federal funding for their districts.”

Kennedy is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican senators John Thune (South Dakota), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee).

“Criminals are victimizing innocent Americans, and woke prosecutors are letting them do it over and over again,” Kennedy said. “Louisianians and all Americans deserve to know when their district attorneys refuse to stand up for victims.

“Our bill would require prosecutors to report what crimes they fail to prosecute, so that Americans can better hold their public servants accountable.”

Kennedy’s office said the bill would apply to state and local prosecutors in the 50 US cities in which crime is most on the rise -- including New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. It said jurisdictions with a formal policy that eliminates cash bail for offenses involving firearms would “lose certain federal grant funding.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-New York), who is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives, said, “Look no further than my city of New York, where Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg released a ‘Day One’ memo initially directing his staff to not prosecute certain crimes, downgrade other felony charges filed by police, and no longer seek sentences of life without parole.

“The same type of woke policies have been enacted by progressive DAs in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and voters have had enough. With prosecutors refusing to prosecute and governors only enabling their leniency, Congress has a responsibility to step in and arm the public with the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box.”

Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams’ office did not respond to a request for comment on Kennedy’s bill.

The proposed legislation was introduced within a week of Williams having a case quashed for the second time in six weeks, after missing a deadline to charge an accused juvenile gunman in Criminal District Court.

In each case, Williams had told victims’ families the accused teen offender would be prosecuted as an adult, but failed to file charges within the allowed 30-day window after arrest.

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