Legislative committee votes overwhelmingly against cold case bill

Lawmakers vote 12-1 against cold case bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The families of cold case murder victims who are seeking changes to state law faced a major setback Monday.

The Legislatures Criminal Justice Committee voted 12-1 against LD 1390, a bill that would add new requirements to the state's cold case unit which investigates unsolved murders and missing persons cases.

The bill would require the unit to issue press releases or hold press conferences on the anniversary of every cold case.  It would also require law enforcement to work with investigative journalists on cold cases, and it would allow families to request help from outside agencies on cases older than 10 years old.

Maine State Police and the Maine Attorney General's Office said that these changes would make it harder for them to do their work and could jeopardize investigations. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Tina Riley, D-Jay, says she was not surprised by the committee vote and had been working to amend the bill.

"The families definitely feel they need to direct the process a little more to let the investigators know what they need to hear and I think the investigators are amenable to talking to them more about that and learning about that," Rep. Riley said. 

She knows the bill's chances of passing the full legislature are now slim, but says the legislation has started a dialogue and she's confident state police and the attorney general's office will be making some changes to address some of the communications concerns raised by the families.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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