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House Passes Conyers' Landmark Bill to Make Judges Safe

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For Immediate Release Contact: Jonathan Godfrey

December 19, 2007 Melanie Roussell

(Washington, DC) - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 660, the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the bill earlier this year and considers it one of his most important legislative achievements. H.R. 660 passed the House by voice vote and it is now headed to the President's desk for signature. Conyers made the following remarks today on the House floor:

This is important legislation, passed in the House on a strong bipartisan basis, to improve the security of federal judges, other federal court officers, and their families.

* It allows judges to redact from their public disclosure forms personal information about their families that could be used to harm them.

* It provides increased funding for judicial protective services furnished by the U.S. Marshals, and for federal witness protection programs.

* It prohibits publishing of personal information about a judge, law enforcement officer, or witness with the intent to cause harassment, intimidation, or a crime of violence.

* And it enhances prison terms for assaults and other violent acts with intent to intimidate or interfere with judges and other federal officers in performance of their official duties.

The House passed this bill in July by voice vote under suspension. The Senate has now passed it with an amendment that makes a few minor refinements, all of which should be acceptable to the House.

It takes a slightly different approach to the enhanced prison terms for assaults and violent acts against judges and other federal officers, for example. This legislation has been years in the making, and we are now finally able to send it to the president.

I would like to thank a number of Judiciary Committee members for their leadership and assistance in bringing the bill to this point:

* Bobby Scott, chairman of the Crime Subcommittee;

* Louie Gohmert, the new ranking member of the Crime Subcommittee;

* and committee members Randy Forbes of Virginia and Anthony Weiner of New York.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.