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April 26, 2010

House bill to create "National Criminal Justice Commission" to be rolled out tomorrow

This new press release from the office of Representative Bill Delahunt (D-MA) reports on a notable legislative development to be formally annouced at a press conference tomorrow. Here are the details:

U.S. Reps Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) will hold a press conference on Tuesday April 27, 2010 at 11:30AM in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building to announce the introduction of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010.

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010, was introduced in the Senate as S. 714 by Senators Jim Webb. The bill has received widespread bipartisan support and has 37 cosponsors in the Senate, including Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Ranking Member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Judiciary Committee member Senator Orrin G Hatch (R-U).

It will create a blue-ribbon bipartisan commission charged with undertaking an 18-month comprehensive review of the Nation’s criminal justice system.  The Commission will study all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal governments’ criminal justice costs, practices, and policies.  After conducting the review, the Commission will make recommendations for changes in, or continuation of oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice.  The bill has been endorsed by approximately 100 organizations.

A copy of the bill will be available at the press conference.

I think much good could come from having a new "blue-ribbon bipartisan commission charged with undertaking an 18-month comprehensive review of the Nation’s criminal justice system," especially if this National Criminal Justice Commission is effectively staffed and funded.  But I am fearful that the creation of a new study commission, who won't issue recommendations until probably 2012 or beyond, could become a distraction from the critical important federal criminal justice reform work that could and should be getting done right now.

Indeed, this very press release has me wondering (again!) about the status of crack/powder sentencing reform in the House.  It has now been more six weeks since the full US Senate unanimously approved legislation to reduce (but not eliminate) the notorious 100:1 ratio in the amount of powder cocaine versus crack cocaine that trigger statutory mandatory minimum sentences.  I had heard rumors that similar compromise legislation might get through the House in April, but these rumors now seem unlikely to become a reality. 

In light of this background, I am not especially excited by House members getting all excited about the introduction of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010.  I do not think this development is itself a reason for criticism, but it does remind me of how important it is for those interested in serious criminal justice reform to keep their eyes on the prize.

Some related recent and older posts:

April 26, 2010 at 04:00 PM | Permalink


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Just doesn't seem to be any momentum when it comes
to criminal justice. Especially when this fall is election yr for so many... Shame, people in a position to actually do some good, mainly just shine a seat and watch their back....

Posted by: Goodyr | Apr 26, 2010 4:45:20 PM

Wait for it, wait for it . . . Rent seeking! Full Lawyer Employment! Self Dealing Immunities! 123D! It's coming, I tell ya!

Posted by: anon | Apr 26, 2010 5:52:12 PM

Anon: Thank you. More lawyer propaganda, pretexts to loose the criminals, and to increase lawyer sinecures. Cult enterprise masking garbage. There will be not a single substantive proposal, I predict.

No one will address ending the 23 million FBI Index felonies a year, 95% of which are the fault of a lawyer, who protected, immunized, enabled and empowered a criminal by keeping the response rate to serious crimes at a 10% chance.

We would have the victimization rates of Japan if we could remove this internal traitor from the total control of government. We have a lower than Japanese crime rate in lawyer residential neighborhood. Show a weapon there, the death penalty is at the scene as carloads of police arrive in 2 minutes, blasting.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 26, 2010 11:33:39 PM

Delahunt understands what's wrong with the system and, remarkably, he's somehow mustered the will to try again to fix it.

The forces that scuttled his last effort 12 years ago have only grown stronger, and the odds remain heavily against significant reform.

After a year or two or three of study, the commission will remind us grand juries are a farce, prosecutors abuse the breathtaking powers they've been given and politicized courts, most notably the Supreme Court, compulsively side with cops and prosecutors against citizens accused of crimes.

It might even take a shot at opportunistic politicians for demagoguing crime issues and over-criminalizing social and economic conduct.

But then the DOJ will squeal, yet again, about how disorderly and inefficient things would be if the accused were given an even break.

Timid politicians will pull in their horns, yet again.

And ten or 12 years from now another commission will be formed to address the problem.

What's the point?

Posted by: John K | Apr 28, 2010 2:19:16 AM

John: After all this time, you ask, what's the point? Come on. You know the answer.

One of the remedies, short of the one effective one I always propose? End all self dealt immunities of the criminal cult enterprise hierarchy. That includes the immunities of the appellate courts, especially the worst of all, the biggest lawyer dumbass one in history, the Supreme Court. If it can be shown, their decision harmed someone, such as a viable third trimester baby, let the estate of the murdered baby sue the Supreme Court, and be allowed to collect from the tortfeasors for their intentional torts, and their signing of the baby's death warrant with full scienter. These are the biggest dumbass, careless, self-dealing cult criminals. Deter them. Immunity grows the entity. Liability shrinks. It is time to use torts to shrink government and the out of control criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession.

I would like to stop kidding around with bogus, pretextual shows of virtue, and caring. This Commission has no validity, without knowing what it will say. It is a front organization for dumbass lawyer rent seeking. We can guarantee that as we guarantee the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. Promotion of more procedure and job generation has the reliability and certainty of planetary orbits.

Pass lawyer control legislation, excluding the dumbass from all benches, legislative seats and responsible policy positions in the executive. All oversight, including that in torts, including enforcement of the Rules of Conduct by a licensing agency in the executive branch, must be run by lay people. No lawyer should be allowed to judge another. Human self-regulation is an impossibility.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 28, 2010 6:51:42 AM

Instead of relying on the institutions that already exist for the answers (USSC, USDOJ (NIJ), FJC) these blubbering idiots want to throw a few million down a rathole simply so they can have a few sound-bites and a press conference -- and give plum appointments to their buddies (even Supremacy Clod is right sometimes).

Business as Usual.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Apr 28, 2010 8:38:55 AM

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