Casey Bill Would Make Witness Intimidation a Federal Crime

In Philadelphia, Casey Announces New Tools to Help Law Enforcement Crack Down on Violent Crime

PHILADELPHIA, PA – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today was joined by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams to announce the introduction of the State Witness Protection Act, new legislation that would make witness intimidation a federal crime and strengthen penalties for those convicted of it.

High profile cases of witness intimidation in Philadelphia, including the recent killing of a store clerk believed to be the witness of a November 2011 murder, underscore the need to give law enforcement more tools to deal with the problem.

“Despite the strong leadership of officials and law enforcement, Philadelphia is grappling with violent crime,” said Senator Casey. “Witness intimidation is a major obstacle in the pursuit of justice, and the legislation I’m announcing today will help law enforcement tackle the problem and put more criminals behind bars.”

The State witness Protection Act would:

  • Make it afederal crime to:
    • kill, attempt to kill, or use physical force to threaten or intimidate a witness
    • influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of an individual in a State proceeding
    • retaliate against a witness for their attendance at a State proceeding or providing information to a law enforcement officer
  • Set tough new maximum penalties for witness protection, including 30 years imprisonment in the case of attempted murder or the use of physical force, and up to 20 years for other cases of witness intimidation; and,
  • Increase federal sentencing guidelines for obstruction and witness intimidation.

Senator Casey will formally introduce the State Witness Protection Act in the Senate this week.