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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

Date: February 23, 2015
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2016 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2015 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of the annual appropriation for CJS.
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Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 107th Congress

Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 107th Congress

Date: April 17, 2003
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report examines legislation in the 107th Congress pertaining to federal mandatory minimum sentencing statutes (mandatory minimums), which demand that execution or incarceration follow criminal conviction. They cover drug dealing and using a gun to commit a federal crime, among other crimes.
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Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues

Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues

Date: January 15, 2009
Creator: Bolle, Mary Jane
Description: This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA, H.R. 5724): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians.
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Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Date: January 30, 2008
Creator: Siskin, Alison
Description: This report examines policy issues surrounding detention of aliens, including concerns about the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention and the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Some have raised concerns about the length of time in detention for aliens who have been ordered removed. Additionally, issues have been raised about the amount of detention space available to house DHS detainees. Another area of uncertainty is the Attorney General’s role in the detention of noncitizens, since the creation of DHS.
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Crime and Forfeiture: The Innocent Third Party

Crime and Forfeiture: The Innocent Third Party

Date: June 29, 1999
Creator: Wallace, Paul S., Jr.
Description: Forfeiture has survived through time in American law, and since 1984, the use of forfeiture statutes to divest felons of their spoils has increased substantially. This report reviews the case law which raises the issue concerning many relative to whether some civil forfeiture proceedings constitute punishment which may violate the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause.
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Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Date: October 25, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time.
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Federal Capital Offenses: An Overview of Substantive and Procedural Law

Federal Capital Offenses: An Overview of Substantive and Procedural Law

Date: November 18, 2014
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: Murder, committed under any of more than 50 jurisdictional circumstances, is a federal capital offense. So are treason, espionage, and certain drug kingpin offenses. The Federal Death Penalty Act and related provisions establish the procedure that must be followed before a defendant convicted of a federal capital offense may be executed. This report is an overview of the law in the area.
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U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues

Date: January 4, 2012
Creator: Bolle, Mary Jane
Description: This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA; H.R. 5724 and S. 2830): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians.
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Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible

Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible

Date: July 16, 1998
Creator: Wallace, Paul S., Jr.
Description: Several courts in the various circuits have considered whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination applies to fear of incrimination in foreign countries, and they have come to divergent conclusions. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Balsys, and on June 25, 1998, decided that a witness may not invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in which only a foreign prosecution is possible. This report provides background on United States v. Balsys and examines the court's opinion.
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Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes

Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes

Date: May 2, 2003
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: This report examines federal law regarding obscenity and indecency. The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” In general, the First Amendment protects pornography, with this term being used to mean any erotic material. The Supreme Court, however, has held that the First Amendment does not protect two types of pornography: obscenity and child pornography. Consequently, they may be banned on the basis of their content, and federal law prohibits the mailing of obscenity, as well as its transport or receipt in interstate or foreign commerce.
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