Christopher Smith on Crime
Republican Representative (NJ-4)
Voted NO 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 NO 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 YES 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 NO 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 YES 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 30% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes.
Smith scores 30% 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 legislator’s percentage score on CURE’s 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.
No TV, R-rated movies, or coffeepots in prison cells.
Smith co-sponsored the Federal No Frills Prisons Act:
Title: To prohibit the use of Federal funds for certain amenities and personal comforts in the Federal prison system. Summary: Prohibits the use of Federal funds to provide the following amenities or personal comforts in the Federal prison system:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1031 on Mar 14, 2001
- in-cell television viewing;
- viewing of a motion picture rated R, X, or NC-17;
- instruction or training equipment for specified fighting arts, bodybuilding, or weightlifting;
- an in-cell coffee pot, hot plate, or heating element; or
- an electric or electronic musical instrument.
Moratorium on death penalty; more DNA testing.
Smith 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
- H. R. 912, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Delahunt, et. al.)
- S.486, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Leahy, et. al.)
- H.R.1038, 3/15/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Jackson (IL), Rodriguez, Clay, Hoeffel, Jackson-Lee (TX))
- S.233, 1/31/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Feingold, Levin, Wellstone, Corzine)
Require DNA testing for all federal executions.
Smith 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.
Harsher sentencing for "pill mill" operators.
Smith signed Pill Mill Crackdown Act
The Pill Mill Crackdown Act of 2011: Amends the Controlled Substances Act to:
- 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,
- 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
- 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.
Source: H.R.1065 11-HR1065 on Mar 14, 2011
- 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.
More prisons, more enforcement, effective death penalty.
Smith signed the Contract with America:
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Taking Back Our Streets Act:
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA4 on Sep 27, 1994
An anti-crime package including stronger truth in sentencing, “good faith” exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer’s crime bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.
Page last updated: Jan 23, 2017