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Donna Edwards on Crime

 

 


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; Bill HR.1913 ; vote number 2009-H223 on Apr 2, 2009

Abolish the federal death penalty.

Edwards co-sponsored Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act

Congressional Summary:

OnTheIssues Notes: This bill affects only the FEDERAL death penalty, not STATE death penalties. The death penalty is currently implemented in 34 states. It was re-legalized by a Supreme Court decision in 1977, for both state and federal executions. Since then, 1,278 people have been executed, but only 3 of those have been federal executions. About 3,250 inmates remain on 'Death Row,' and 61 for federal death row. Texas is by far the national leader in executions--it has executed 477 people as of Jan. 2012, 37% of the national total. (Virginia is a very distant second with 109). In other words, this bill is largely symbolic, unless states followed the federal abolition.

Source: H.R.3051 11-H3051 on Sep 23, 2011

Harsher sentencing for "pill mill" operators.

Edwards signed Pill Mill Crackdown Act

    The Pill Mill Crackdown Act of 2011: Amends the Controlled Substances Act to:
  1. double the term of imprisonment and triple the fine for the prohibited distribution of a schedule II or schedule III controlled substance by the operator of a pill mill,
  2. increase the penalties for such operator distribution of a controlled substance to a person under age 21 from twice to thrice the maximum punishment or term of supervised release authorized, and
  3. exclude such operator distribution from the applicability of provisions authorizing an alternative fine of not more than twice the gross profits or other proceeds derived by a defendant from a drug offense.
      Expresses the sense of Congress that such prohibited operator distribution is a violation for which certain property is subject to forfeiture.
      • Requires the proceeds from disposition of such property to be used for controlled substance monitoring programs in the states and for block grants to states for community mental health services and for prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
      • Changes the classification of specified quantities of dihydrocodeinone from a schedule III to a schedule II controlled substance.
      Source: H.R.1065 11-HR1065 on Mar 14, 2011

      Sponsored evidence-based & proven prevention for street gangs.

      Edwards co-sponsored Youth PROMISE Act

      Congressional Summary:Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act or the Youth Promise Act:

      • Establish a PROMISE Advisory Panel to assess and develop standards and evidence-based practices to prevent juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity.
      • Collect data to assess the needs and existing resources for juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity prevention and intervention.
      • Implement PROMISE plans, developed by local PROMISE Coordinating Councils (PCCs), for coordinating and supporting the delivery of juvenile delinquency and gang prevention and intervention programs in local communities.
      • Establishes a National Research Center for Proven Juvenile Justice Practices to provide PCCs and the public with research and other information about evidence-based practices related to juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang prevention or intervention.
      • Awards grants to institutions of higher education to serve as regional research partners with PCCs that are located in the same geographic region as the educational institution.

      Opponent's argument against bill: (Dissenting views on

      Source: H.R.1318 13-H1318 on Mar 21, 2013

      Easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis.

      Edwards signed easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis

        Congress finds the following:
      1. Rape is a serious problem.
      2. In 2006, there were an estimated 261,000 rapes and sexual assaults.
      3. The collection and testing of DNA evidence is a critical tool in solving rape cases.
      4. Despite the availability of funding under the Debbie Smith Act of 2004, there exists a significant rape kit backlog.
      5. A 1999 study estimated that there was an annual backlog of 180,000 rape kits that had not been analyzed.
      6. No agency regularly collects information regarding the scope of the rape kit backlog.
      7. Certain States cap reimbursement for rape kits at levels that are less than 1/2 the average cost of a rape kit.
      8. There is a lack of health professionals who have received specialized training specific to sexual assault victims.
      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.

      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

      Rated 62% by the NAPO, indicating a moderate stance on police issues.

      Edwards scores 62% by the NAPO on crime & police issues

      Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.

      "Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nationís capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPOís accomplishments:

      • Enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act
      • Enactment of the National AMBER Alert Act
      • Enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
      • Enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
      • Enactment of the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act (Right to Carry Legislation)

      VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:

      • 0%-50%: soft on crime and police issues;
      • 50%-75%: mixed record on crime and police issues;
      • 75%-100%: tough on crime and police issues.
      Source: NAPO ratings on Congress and politicians 2014_NAPO on Dec 31, 2014

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