Lynn Woolsey on Crime
Democratic Representative (CA-6)
Voted YES on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes.
Congressional Summary:Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994: a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person. Provides technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of hate crimes, including financial grant awards.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN CONYERS (D, MI-14):This bill expands existing Federal hate crimes law to groups who are well-known targets for bias-based violence--they are sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. These crimes of violence are directed not just at those who are directly attacked; they are targeting the entire group with the
threat of violence.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LAMAR SMITH (R, TX-21): Every year thousands of violent crimes are committed out of hate, but just as many violent crimes, if not more, are motivated by something other than hate--greed, jealousy, desperation or revenge, just to name a few. An individual's motivation for committing a violent crime is usually complex and often speculative. Every violent crime is deplorable, regardless of its motivation. That's why all violent crimes should be vigorously prosecuted. Unfortunately, this bill undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system--equal justice for all. Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. Justice will now depend on the race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other protected status of the victim. It will allow different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This is the real injustice.
Reference: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act;
; vote number 2009-H223
on Apr 2, 2009
Voted YES on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society.
H.R.1593: Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention or the Second Chance Act (Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass). To reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and to improve reentry planning and implementation.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. CONYERS: Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the Federal and State prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures & temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain
& hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. GOHMERT: The programs that are sought to be renewed are ones we don't have information on how successful they were. I can tell you from my days as a judge, there was some anecdotal evidence that it looked like faith-based programs did a better job of dramatically reducing recidivism. In addition:
Reference: Second Chance Act;
; vote number 2007-1083
on Nov 13, 2007
- There are some provisions that allow for too much administration. That is going to build a bigger bureaucracy.
- Dismissing all charges if someone completes drug rehab under another provision I think is outrageous. You are going to remove the hammer that would allow you to keep people in line?
- We also have a provision to teach inmates how they can go about getting the most welfare before they leave prison and go out on their own.
Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.
Vote on an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA;
Bill HR 4690
; vote number 2000-317
on Jun 22, 2000
Voted NO on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime.
Vote to pass a bill to appropriate $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases.
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL;
Bill HR 1501
; vote number 1999-233
on Jun 17, 1999
Voted YES on maintaining right of habeas corpus in Death Penalty Appeals.
Vote on an amendment to delete provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts ['Habeas Corpus'].
Bill HR 2703
; vote number 1996-64
on Mar 14, 1996
Voted NO on making federal death penalty appeals harder.
Vote on a bill to make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts.
Bill HR 729
; vote number 1995-109
on Feb 8, 1995
Voted YES on replacing death penalty with life imprisonment.
Amendment to replace death penalty crimes in the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill with life imprisonment.
Bill HR 4092
; vote number 1994-107
on Apr 14, 1994
Rated 78% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.
Woolsey scores 78% by CURE on rehabilitation issues
CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are
The ratings indicate the legislatorís percentage score on CUREís preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000
- to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
- for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes.
Woolsey co-sponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:
Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.
Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1343 on Apr 3, 2001
- Award grants to assist State and local law enforcement officials with extraordinary expenses for interstate hate crimes.
- Award grants to State and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.
- Prohibit specified offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Increase criminal sentencing for adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes.
- Collect and publish data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender.
Require DNA testing for all federal executions.
Woolsey co-sponsored the Innocence Protection Act:
Title: To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed.
Summary: Authorizes a person convicted of a Federal crime to apply for DNA testing to support a claim that the person did not commit:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR912 on Mar 7, 2001
- the Federal crime of which the person was convicted; or
- any other offense that a sentencing authority may have relied upon when it sentenced the person with respect to such crime.
- Prohibits a State from denying an application for DNA testing made by a prisoner in State custody who is under sentence of death if specified conditions apply.
- Provides grants to prosecutors for DNA testing programs.
- Establishes the National Commission on Capital Representation.
- Withholds funds from States not complying with standards for capital representation.
- Provides for capital defense incentive grants and resource grants.
- Increases compensation in Federal cases, and sets forth provisions regarding compensation in State cases, where an individual is unjustly sentenced to death.
- Adds a certification requirement in Federal death penalty prosecutions.
- Expresses the sense of Congress regarding the execution of juvenile offenders and the mentally retarded.
Stricter sentencing for hate crimes.
Woolsey co-sponsored stricter sentencing for hate crimes
- To make sentencing guidelines for Federal criminal cases that provide sentencing enhancements for hate crimes.
- Amends the Federal judicial code to require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to:
- promulgate or amend existing guidelines to provide for sentencing enhancements of not less than three offense levels for offenses that the finder of fact at trial determines beyond a reasonable doubt are hate crimes; and
- assure reasonable consistency with other guidelines, avoid duplicative punishments for substantially the same offense, and take into account any mitigating circumstances that might justify exceptions.
Proponents' Argument in Favor:Rep. SENSENBRENNER. This bill does not create a new Federal crime. Nothing that is presently not criminal now would be made criminal as a result of enactment. What enactment of H.R. 1152 will do is provide for enhanced criminal penalties for certain specifically designated hate crimes. As used in the bill, the term hate crime is defined as a Federal crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of the person. Hate crimes are more serious offenses and often result in a greater level of injury to the victim and to society.
Source: Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act (H.R.1152) 1993-H1152 on Mar 1, 1993
More prison cells; more truth in sentencing.
Woolsey co-sponsored more prison cells; more truth in sentencing
Source: Truth in Sentencing Act (H.R.3584) 1993-H3584 on Nov 20, 1993
- To encourage each State to adopt truth in sentencing laws and to help fund additional spaces in the State correctional programs as needed.
- Provide grants to States to build, expand, or operate space in correctional facilities in order to implement specified "truth in sentencing" requirements.
- Requires a State, to be eligible for funding under this Act, to have in effect throughout the State such requirements, including provisions which:
- restrict parole, good-time credit release, or other forms of early release to require that criminals convicted of crimes of violence serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed by a judge or jury;
- require the sentencing authority to allow the defendant's victim or the victim's family the opportunity to be heard regarding the issue of sentencing;
- allow as a sentencing option a "life sentence" without the possibility of parole; and
- provide that the victim and the victim's family shall be notified whenever such defendant is to be released.
Life imprisonment for repeat sexual predators.
Woolsey co-sponsored restricting parole for repeat sexual predators
Expresses the sense of the Congress that States should:
Source: Protection from Sexual Predators Act (H.R.3990) 1994-H3990 on Mar 9, 1994
- more seriously consider the relatively high recidivism rate of sexual offenders when deciding whether to plea bargain with first-time sexual offenders and whether to grant parole to sexual offenders; and
- review their treatment and parole supervision programs for sexual offenders to assure that such programs are fulfilling their goals.
- Whoever violates provisions regarding aggravated sexual abuse after previously having been convicted of another State or Federal sexual abuse offense shall be imprisoned for life.
Establish guidelines for State programs requiring any person who is convicted of a sex offense to register and keep up to date a current address with a designated State law enforcement agency for ten years after being released from prison
- Maintain on-line availability of information obtained under this Act
- Carry out a study of persistent sexual predators and to report to the Congress and the President.
Easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis.
Woolsey signed easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis
Congress finds the following: The purpose of this Act is to address the problems surrounding forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault, including rape kit backlogs, reimbursement for or free provision of rape kits, and the
availability of trained health professionals to administer rape kit examinations.
- Rape is a serious problem.
- In 2006, there were an estimated 261,000 rapes and sexual assaults.
- The collection and testing of DNA evidence is a critical tool in solving rape cases.
- Despite the availability of funding under the Debbie Smith Act of 2004, there exists a significant rape kit backlog.
- A 1999 study estimated that there was an annual backlog of 180,000 rape kits that had not been analyzed.
- No agency regularly collects information regarding the scope of the rape kit backlog.
- Certain States cap reimbursement for rape kits at levels that are less than 1/2 the average cost of a rape kit.
- There is a lack of health professionals who have received specialized training specific to sexual assault victims.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS:
Sen. FRANKEN: Last year, 90,000 people were raped. Thanks to modern technology, we have an unparalleled tool to bring sexual predators to justice: forensic DNA analysis. Rape kit DNA evidence is survivors' best bet for justice. Unfortunately, we have failed to make adequate use of DNA analysis. In 2004, then-Sen. Biden and others worked to pass the Debbie Smith Act, a law named after a rape survivor whose backlogged rape kit was tested six years after her assault. Unfortunately, because many localities simply did not use the Debbie Smith funds they were allocated, the promise of the Debbie Smith Act remains unfulfilled.
In 2009, Los Angeles had 12,500 untested rape kits; Houston found at least 4,000 untested rape kits in storage, and Detroit reported a backlog of possibly 10,000 kits. Those are just three cities. Hundreds of thousands of women have not seen justice.
Source: Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault (S2736&HR4114) 2009-S2736 on Nov 5, 2009
Page last updated: Jun 11, 2012