Amy Klobuchar on Crime

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Increase fines on cartels engaging in price fixing

Consider this: cartel fines have long been calculated on the basis of a US Sentencing Commission formula. That formula is predicated on an estimate "that the average gain from price fixing is 10% of the selling price." However, empirical data shows that the median cartel overcharge over the last twenty years has been more than double that figure, 22%, with the mean, or average overcharge calculated to be 49%. Some cartels have raised prices substantially for products or services, leading to a higher figure. In short, today's fines are not properly calibrated to remediating the harm. At a minimum, the US Sentencing Commission should double its current presumption that cartels raise prices by an average of 10%. This would increase criminal fines substantially while serving as a deterrent to future cartel activity. White collar offenders may not be committing murders, but all too often they are getting away with murder when it comes to jacking up prices on unsuspecting Americans.
Source: Antitrust, by Amy Klobuchar, p.307 , Apr 27, 2021

Appealed conviction downgrading felony to avoid deportation

Elsayed Salim, was convicted of failing to declare a secondary income that put him above the threshold for welfare. A judge sentenced Salim to 364 days in jail--deliberately attempting to protect him from deportation by keeping his sentencing under a year which downgraded the case from a felony to a gross misdemeanor. Klobuchar appealed the decision, lobbying for an upgrade and condemning the state's judges for "letting offenders off the hook too easily." Mr. Salim was subsequently deported.
Source: MintPress News on 2020 Veepstakes , May 27, 2020

Address racism in the system though diversity, reform

I have always been an advocate for criminal justice reform. We know that there is systematic racism in the criminal justice system. The answer is something that I worked on: diversifying the office. It is doing things like videotaping interrogations, something I advocated for. It is doing eyewitness ID in a different way that limits racial misidentifications. I've been a co-sponsor of the First Step Act to reduce non-violent sentences.
Source: Meet the Press 2020 on 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary , Feb 16, 2020

Safe harbor for prostitutes;but don't decriminalize sex work

Q: You co-sponsored the SESTA-FOSTA Act [Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act/Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act], which made it harder for sex workers to protect themselves by vetting clients online and harder for law enforcement to track potential criminals who may harm sex workers. Will you come out in favor of legalizing sex work? And what will you do to counteract the negative impact this law has had?

KLOBUCHAR: I've been a leader on human trafficking. I was actually the lead on the bill that included my provision for safe harbor. What that meant, of course, was that if you have sex trafficking, either domestic or internationally, that you have to have a safe harbor for young people who are victims, so that they're not prosecuted themselves. I am not in favor of decriminalizing all of sex work. I'm concerned about the effect that's going to have on young women and violence against women.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

I support racial justice: make prosecutors accountable

Q: During your eight years as a prosecutor in Minnesota, there were dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police. Critics say that too often you sided with police in these cases. The ACLU's legal director in Minnesota has said that you showed no interest in racial justice. Do you wish now that you had done more?

KLOBUCHAR: That's not my record. When I was there, the way we handled these police shootings, I actually took a stand to make sure outside investigators handled them. I took on our major police chief in Minneapolis. But in the prosecutor's office, they were handled with a grand jury. That's how they were all handled across our state. I now believe it is better for accountability if the prosecutor handles them and makes those decisions herself.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders

I will make sure that we don't just do the First Step Act when it comes to criminal sentencing, that we move to the Second Step Act, which means the 90 percent of people that are incarcerated in local and state jails, let's reduce those sentences for nonviolent offenders and let's get them jobs and let them vote when they get out of prison.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Abolish capital punishment

Amy Klobuchar on Capital Punishment / Death Penalty: Abolish it.

13 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Julian Castro; Bill de Blasio; John Delaney; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; John Hickenlooper; Beto O`Rourke; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren; Andrew Yang.

Candidates who have called for abolishing capital punishment altogether say inmates sentenced to death should have their sentences commuted to life without parole.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Reduce mandatory minimum sentences

Amy Klobuchar on Mandatory Minimum Sentences Reform: Reduce them.

No candidates have similar views. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has called for creating federal incentives "so that states can restore some discretion from mandatory sentencing for nonviolent offenders." The Minnesota Democrat has proposed building on advances in flexibility for judges for mandatory minimums and adding more safety valves, or exceptions to minimum sentencing guidelines.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Supports prison reform & treatment over punishment

Klobuchar supported the bipartisan First Step Act, a reform of the federal prison system, in the Senate. At an Axios event, Klobuchar, whose father suffered from alcoholism, spoke personally to the treatment vs. prison debate: "Treatment changed my dad's life. In his own words, he was 'pursued by grace.' I think other people should have the same right."
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 3, 2019

We must address human trafficking abroad and domestically

Here is one challenge: today, millions of people in the world are held in forced labor or sexual servitude. Human trafficking hits home for me. I'm a former prosecutor. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton took the international report on trafficking--the one nations use to improve their prosecutions--and she made our country accountable. She added the US to that list. Because she knows that if we are going to be a beacon for the world, then we have to get our own house in order.

Human trafficking is the third biggest criminal enterprise in the world. As long as ISIS is selling girls for $165, and parents in Nigeria are left with nothing but bows and arrows to chase the terrorists who steal their daughters, we will never have a just and good world. Because when women are held back, democracies falter. When women are bound and treated as sex slaves, tyrants rule. Opportunity for women is not a sign of a country's weakness, it is a sign of a nation's strength.

Source: Speech at 2016 Democratic National Convention , Jul 26, 2016

Victims want convictions, but also want to trust courts

[On work with victim witness group]: All of our victims' surveys showed that while charges and convictions were the gold standard and of course the best outcome with regard to public safety, trust in our office was still an important intangible quality that determined how victims felt about "the system." That was a lesson I shared during the recent debate about sexual assault in the military: bringing cases whenever possible is key, but carefully reviewing all of the evidence and explaining your reasoning to the victim is critical for building trust.

We would always explain to victims that even when the County Attorney's Office didn't have enough evidence to bring charges, the decision to come forward and provide assistance still mattered and made a difference. Their evidence would be kept on file, and it might prove to be a deciding factor in a future case. Years later, that's why I fought hard to add provisions to federal law to preserve records of sexual assaults in the military.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.150-1 , Aug 24, 2015

People who break the law need to be held accountable

[Before Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Roland Amundson] became a judge, Amundson managed a woman's disabled trust. The woman was an adult, but her mental capacity was comparable to that of a three-year-old. Judge Amundson was stealing from it and using the money for his own purposes.

Ultimately, he stole about $400,000 from the trust, and he did it while serving as a judge on the Minnesota court of Appeals. His crime was unprecedented.

My view? [As I said to the New York Times] "I believe he was greedy and wanted to live a lifestyle that he didn't have the money to live." He had to go to prison.

Despite the fervent testimony of Admunson's many witnesses, we got the sentence we asked for. When people break the law, they need to be held accountable, no matter who they are or who they know or who they hire as a lawyer.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.173-5 , Aug 24, 2015

Lock up predatory sex offenders indefinitely

Aggressive prosecution of those who victimize children has been a top priority [of mine as a prosecutor], and my office has also been at the forefront in using civil commitment laws to lock up predatory sex offenders indefinitely. Federal support is important to local law enforcement and the criminal justice system to make sure sex offenders can be tracked, because we know they’re not afraid to move across state lines. [I support] publicly-available national database of sex offenders.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Increase funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program.

Klobuchar co-sponsored increasing funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program

COPS Improvements Act of 2007 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make grants for public safety and community policing programs (COPS ON THE BEAT or COPS program). Revises grant purposes to provide for:

  1. the hiring or training of law enforcement officers for intelligence, antiterror, and homeland security duties;
  2. the hiring of school resource officers;
  3. school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities, and other problems facing elementary and secondary schools;
  4. innovative programs to reduce and prevent illegal drug (including methamphetamine) manufacturing, distribution, and use; and
  5. enhanced community policing and crime prevention grants that meet emerging law enforcement needs.
    Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to:
  1. assign community prosecutors to handle cases from specific geographic areas and address counterterrorism problems, specific violent crime problems, and localized violent and other crime problems; and
  2. develop new technologies to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in crime prevention.
Source: COPS Improvements Act (S.368/H.R.1700) 07-S368 on Jan 23, 2007

Facilitate recovering crime victim restitution fees.

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

Congressional Summary:

Source: HR1416/S755 11-S0755 on Apr 7, 2011

First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.

Klobuchar voted YEA First Step Act

Congressional Summary:

Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve `low risk` status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.

Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a `first step` that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.

Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018

Rated 64% by the NAPO, indicating a moderate stance on police issues.

Klobuchar scores 64% 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 nation’s capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPO’s accomplishments:

VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:

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

Other candidates on Crime: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:

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