Sen. Kelsey to Increase Sentences for Carjacking

NASHVILLE – State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) said today he is introducing legislation to crack down on carjackings in Tennessee. Sen. Kelsey’s announcement comes amid a recent spate of carjackings in the Memphis area. At least six carjackings have been reported in the area in the last three weeks.

Kelsey said his bill aims to keep Tennesseans safer by ensuring that carjackers serve more time behind bars.

“Tennesseans should not have to worry about being held at gunpoint while driving in our communities,” said Sen. Kelsey. “A red light is meant to keep you safe from other drivers, not put you in danger of being carjacked,” he continued. “It is a travesty that carjackers only have to serve 30% of their sentence.”

Under current law, offenders convicted of carjacking can serve as little as 30% of their sentence before being released on parole. Sen. Kelsey’s proposal will increase the amount of time that carjackers spend in prison by adding carjacking to the list of offenses for which 85% of the sentence must be served.

According to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Corrections, the average person convicted of carjacking currently serves less than five years behind bars.

“Carjacking” is defined as the intentional or knowing taking of a motor vehicle from the possession of another by use of a deadly weapon or by force or intimidation and is a Class B Felony.
Police are still looking for suspects in five of the cases of carjacking in Memphis.

Kelsey plans to file the proposed legislation before the start of the next legislative session in January. Sen. Kelsey serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has responsibility over all such matters of criminal law.

Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown.
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