Gov Approves Two Laws Aimed At Improving Criminal Justice SystemBy Paul Boger | Published 22 Apr 2014 08:30am |
Two bills aimed at improving Mississippi's criminal justice system will soon take effect statewide. MPB's Paul Boger reports on the changes to the state's legal system
House Bill 1 will provide 16 additional Assistant District Attorneys in high-need areas throughout the state. Tony Lawrence is the D.A. for Jackson, George and Greene Counties. He says victims of crime should be happy with the new law.
"The D.A.'s office is really a bottleneck in the criminal justice system." said Lawrence. "13 or 14 agencies will feed files there, and it takes lawyers to move cases in the courtroom. What's going to happen is the D.A. is going to be more efficient. You'll have more workers, you'll be able to move more cases, criminals will be held accountable a lot quicker."
The other measure, Senate Bill 2430, requires those arrested for violent crimes to provide a DNA sample that will be tested to ensure they are not responsible for other serious crimes. Governor Phil Bryant says the measure has proven to be a useful tool in a number of states.
"The proof is clear." said Bryant. "For example, California had over 9,000 DNA matches for those individuals that were being sought out for violent offenses. Just as important through out the nation there have been some 200 wrongful convictions. DNA matching helped set those individuals free."
The DNA testing law will go into effect on July 1, while additional assistant district attorneys won't be on board until November 1.
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