Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115), authored by Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), by a vote of 271-143. This legislation adds the murder of a state or local police officer as an aggravating factor for a jury to consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty in federal capital cases.  The murder of a federal law enforcement officer is already an aggravating factor under current law.  The legislation sends a simple message that the stalking and killing of law enforcement officers must not and will not be tolerated.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement on today’s House vote.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Every day, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers around the country protect their fellow citizens from harm, keep the peace, and carry out justice. They serve every day, often with little to no recognition or support. From Seattle to Dallas to New York City, in recent years, police officers have laid down their lives in the service of their communities. Sadly, 50 police officers have died in the line of duty already this year.

“As our nation’s police officers serve and protect us every day, we have a duty to honor their sacrifices and ensure those who harm them are brought to justice. The Thin Blue Line Act accomplishes this, and I thank Congressman Buchanan for his work on this important bill.”

For Chairman Goodlatte’s floor remarks on the Thin Blue Line Act, click here.