Cotton Introduces Carjacking Legislation

( — Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has introduced legislation aimed at preventing early release for convicted carjackers. The Senator referred to the law passed by the Washington, DC, city council that has been dubbed “soft on crime” and is now set to be overturned by bipartisan Members of Congress. DC’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 reduced punishments for a variety of crimes and was met with dismay on Capitol Hill. Senator Cotton said, “If that’s the case for DC, it should be the case in places like Little Rock, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. This bill will ensure carjackers across the country aren’t eligible for early release from federal prison.”

Instances of carjacking have skyrocketed across the nation. In 2020, the crime increased by a shocking 537% in Minneapolis, 126% in New Orleans, and 38% in Oakland. Vehicle theft more generally is also on the rise. Part of the reason for the shocking rise in Minneapolis is the reduction in police funding resulting from Black Lives Matter demands. Minneapolis Police Commander Charlie Adams said the offense is most often committed by juveniles who “know what they can get away with it.”

The punishment for carjacking varies from state to state. It is usually classified as a felony and can carry a hefty prison term. If it involves a vehicle that has crossed state lines, it becomes a federal offense. In Texas, for example, it is seen as a form of robbery and is usually prosecuted as a second-degree felony. If a firearm is used, it can be bumped up to first degree. It carries a prison term of around 20 years. In New York, it is also prosecuted as a robbery but the penalty can be as little as 3.5 years in prison.

In most states, if the incident results in serious injury or a deadly weapon is used, serious charges can be brought and offenders can face anything up to life in prison.

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