OnTheIssuesLogo

Mel Watt on Crime

Democratic Representative (NC-12)

 


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

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; Bill HR1593 ; vote number 2007-1083 on Nov 13, 2007

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 100% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.

Watt scores 100% 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

  1. to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
  2. for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
The ratings indicate the legislatorís percentage score on CUREís preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000

Moratorium on death penalty; more DNA testing.

Watt co-sponsored a bill limiting capital punishment:

H.R. 1038, S.233:

To place a moratorium on executions by the Federal Government and urge the States to do the same, while a National Commission on the Death Penalty reviews the fairness of the imposition of the death penalty .
S.486 & H.R.912:
To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed [by examining DNA evidence more thoroughly].
Source: H.R.912 01-HR1038 on Mar 7, 2001

Require DNA testing for all federal executions.

Watt 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:

  1. the Federal crime of which the person was convicted; or

  2. any other offense that a sentencing authority may have relied upon when it sentenced the person with respect to such crime.

  3. 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.

  4. Provides grants to prosecutors for DNA testing programs.

  5. Establishes the National Commission on Capital Representation.

  6. Withholds funds from States not complying with standards for capital representation.

  7. Provides for capital defense incentive grants and resource grants.

  8. Increases compensation in Federal cases, and sets forth provisions regarding compensation in State cases, where an individual is unjustly sentenced to death.

  9. Adds a certification requirement in Federal death penalty prosecutions.

  10. Expresses the sense of Congress regarding the execution of juvenile offenders and the mentally retarded.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR912 on Mar 7, 2001

Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.

Watt co-sponsored reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance

Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.
Source: Second Chance Act (S.1060/H.R.1593) 08-S1060 on Mar 29, 2007

Facilitate recovering crime victim restitution fees.

Watt co-sponsored Crime Victim Restitution and Court Fee Intercept Act

Congressional Summary:

Source: HR1416/S755 11-H1416 on Apr 7, 2011

Sponsored evidence-based & proven prevention for street gangs.

Watt co-sponsored Youth PROMISE Act

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

Opponent's argument against bill: (Dissenting views on

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

Sponsored providing defense lawyers for all indigent defendants.

Watt co-sponsored House Resolution on court policy

    Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives--
  1. supports the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to counsel; and
  2. supports strategies to improve the criminal justice system to ensure that indigent defendants in all felony cases are ade
    Source: H.RES.196 13-HRes196 on May 3, 2013

    Rated 23% by the NAPO, indicating a police-the-police stance.

    Watt scores 23% 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:

    VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:

    Source: NAPO ratings on Congress and politicians 2014_NAPO on Dec 31, 2014

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Crime: Mel Watt on other issues:
    NC Gubernatorial:
    Pat McCrory
    NC Senatorial:
    Kay Hagan
    Sean Haugh
    Thom Tillis

    Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2015:
    AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
    CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
    CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
    CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
    CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
    FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
    HI-1: Rep.-Elect Mark Takai
    MA-6: Rep.-Elect Seth Moulton
    MI-12:Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell
    MI-14:Rep.-Elect Brenda Lawrence
    NE-2: Rep.-Elect Brad Ashford(R⇒D)
    NJ-12:Rep.-Elect Bonnie Coleman
    NY-4: Rep.-Elect Kathleen Rice
    PA-13:Rep.-Elect Brendan Boyle
    VA-8: Rep.-Elect Donald Beyer
    Seated in special elections 2013-2014:
    AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
    FL-13:David Jolly(R)
    FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
    IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
    LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
    MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
    MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
    NC-12:Alma Adams(D)
    NJ-1: Donald Norcross(D)
    SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
    VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

    Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
    AR-2: Rep.-Elect French Hill
    AR-4: Rep.-Elect Bruce Westerman
    AL-6: Rep.-Elect Gary Palmer
    CA-25:Rep.-Elect Steve Knight
    CA-45:Rep.-Elect Mimi Walters
    CO-4: Rep.-Elect Ken Buck
    FL-26:Rep.-Elect Carlos Curbelo(D⇒R)
    GA-1: Rep.-Elect Buddy Carter
    GA-10:Rep.-Elect Jody Hice
    GA-11:Rep.-Elect Barry Loudermilk
    GA-12:Rep.-Elect Rick Allen(D⇒R)
    IA-1: Rep.-Elect Rod Blum(D⇒R)
    IA-3: Rep.-Elect David Young
    IL-10:Rep.-Elect Robert Dold(D⇒R)
    IL-12:Rep.-Elect Mike Bost(D⇒R)
    More newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
    LA-5: Rep.-Elect Ralph Abraham
    LA-6: Rep.-Elect Garret Graves
    ME-2: Rep.-Elect Bruce Poliquin(D⇒R)
    MI-4: Rep.-Elect John Moolenaar
    MI-8: Rep.-Elect Mike Bishop
    MI-11:Rep.-Elect Dave Trott
    MN-6: Rep.-Elect Tom Emmer
    MT-0: Rep.-Elect Ryan Zinke
    NC-6: Rep.-Elect Mark Walker
    NC-7: Rep.-Elect David Rouzer(D⇒R)
    NH-1: Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta(D⇒R)
    NJ-3: Rep.-Elect Tom MacArthur
    NV-4: Rep.-Elect Cresent Hardy(D⇒R)
    NY-1: Rep.-Elect Lee Zeldin(D⇒R)
    NY-21:Rep.-Elect Elise Stefanik(D⇒R)
    NY-24:Rep.-Elect John Katko
    OK-5: Rep.-Elect Steve Russell
    PA-6: Rep.-Elect Ryan Costello
    TX-4: Rep.-Elect John Ratcliffe
    TX-23:Rep.-Elect Will Hurd
    TX-36:Rep.-Elect Brian Babin
    UT-4: Rep.-Elect Mia Love(D⇒R)
    VA-10:Rep.-Elect Barbara Comstock
    WA-4: Rep.-Elect Dan Newhouse
    WI-6: Rep.-Elect Glenn Grothman
    WV-2: Rep.-Elect Alex Mooney
    WV-3: Rep.-Elect Evan Jenkins(D⇒R)
    Abortion
    Budget/Economy
    Civil Rights
    Corporations
    Crime
    Drugs
    Education
    Energy/Oil
    Environment
    Families/Children
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Immigration
    Infrastructure/Technology
    Jobs
    Principles/Values
    Social Security
    Tax Reform
    War/Iraq/Mideast
    Welfare/Poverty

    Main Page
    Wikipedia Profile
    Ballotpedia Profile
    NC politicians
    NC Archives

    Contact info:
    Email Contact Form
    Mailing Address:
    Rayburn HOB 2304, Washington, DC 20515
    Official Website
    Phone number:
    (202) 225-1510
    Search for...





    Page last updated: Feb 25, 2016