Republicans introduce bill requiring DOJ to disclose info on felony pre-trial releases

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis., introduced the Pretrial Release Reporting Act on Monday, leading the charge for congressional oversight of law enforcement releases involving people charged with violent crimes.

The bill would require the DOJ to report to Congress information on suspects of violent felonies released pre-trial on bail by state courts and how the courts themselves weigh release conditions for people charged with the crimes.


Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (Getty Images)

“The current Democrat polices of catch and release of violent offenders within our criminal justice system has resulted in untold tragedies throughout America,” Johnson told Fox News Digital in a Monday email. “In Wisconsin, six innocent people lost their lives and 62 others were injured during the Waukesha Christmas Parade because a violent criminal was released on low bail.”

“This horrific tragedy never should have happened, but was the direct result of the low bail, no bail policies implemented by soft on crime district attorneys and pushed by the Biden administration,” Johnson continued. “The Pretrial Release Reporting Act will bring transparency the American public deserve and make everyone aware of how frequent violent offenders are released into their communities after posting meager bail, or none at all.”

“The American public has the right to know how these low bail policies resulting from Democrat governance are endangering their communities,” he continued.

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (AP)

Fitzgerald also pointed to the Waukesha massacre as one of many reasons for the bill in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying that Darrell Brooks – who has been charged in the massacre – should not have been released on his initial bail of $ 1,000.

“The community of Waukesha was rocked to its core last winter when Darrell Brooks violently took the lives of six community members and injured dozens more,” Fitzgerald said in an email to Fox News Digital. “This incident could have been avoided and it exposed a severe shortcoming in the prosecutorial approach to bail and pre-trial release in Milwaukee County.”

Darrell Brooks Jr. booking photo

Darrell Brooks Jr. booking photo (Waukesha Sheriff’s Department)

“Brooks should never have been released on such a trivial bail amount, and although we cannot turn back the clock, we must hold local leaders accountable moving forward,” he continued. “The Pretrial Release Report Act will do exactly that by requiring the DOJ to critically analyze how weak bail policies impact our communities.”

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and John Thune, R-S.D., were original co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate.

The House also saw several high-profile GOP lawmakers sign onto the bill, including Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, and Ken Buck of Colorado.

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