DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • Friday, September 24, 2010
  • Contact: Office of Justice Programs
  • Telephone: (202) 307-0703

Weekly News Brief

Attorney General Eric Holder Announced Defending Childhood Initiative—On September 23, the Attorney General launched the Defending Childhood initiative to address a national crisis: the exposure of America's children to violence as victims and as witnesses. Building on prior and ongoing efforts, Defending Childhood will leverage federal resources within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and throughout the government to address children's exposure to violence. In 2010, DOJ is providing more than $5.5 million to support the development of programs and projects that help prevent exposure to violence, mitigate the negative impacts of violence when it does occur, and spread awareness about this issue. The President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget request includes $37 million for this initiative.

14 Public Safety Officers Recognized for Valor—On September 22, Vice President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to 14 police officers, firefighters and paramedics who exhibited exceptional courage in saving and protecting others and whose heroic actions were above and beyond the call of duty. These honorees represent nine law enforcement and fire and rescue agencies from six states. Including today's awardees, a total of 55 medals have been presented since the first recipients were honored in 2003.

Millions of Indigent Defense Cases; John R. Justice Act Funding Announced—According to OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), about 1,000 public defender offices in 49 states and the District of Columbia received nearly 5.6 million cases and employed over 15,000 litigating attorneys in 2007. BJS recently released two reports examining public defender offices across the country. One report examines the 530 offices in 27 states and the District of Columbia that are funded and administered at the county or local jurisdictional level, and the second report examines public defender programs in the 22 states administering and overseeing the provision of indigent defense in all jurisdictions across the state. Also, OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced almost $10 million in funding through the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act to support the retention of qualified prosecutors and public defenders. The funding was awarded to each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide loan repayment assistance for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.

South Dakota Added to the List of Jurisdictions Implementing SORNA—The Department of Justice recently announced that South Dakota has substantially implemented the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. South Dakota joins the States of Ohio, Delaware and Florida and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation as jurisdictions that have substantially implemented SORNA.

Upcoming Events:

OJP Officials to Speak at National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims—Mary Lou Leary, OJP's Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Joye Frost, Acting Director, OJP's Office for Victims of Crime, will speak at the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims on Saturday, September 25, at 5:30 p.m., at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Laurie O. Robinson, OJP's Assistant Attorney General to Speak at Community Prosecution Conference—On Monday, September 27, at 9:30 a.m., AAG Robinson and James H. Burch, II, Acting Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), will address the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Sixth National Conference on Community Prosecution: The 21st Century Prosecutor. The conference is at the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.