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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions

Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions

Date: July 28, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: The United States Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States construed the honest services branch of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to reach no more than cases involving bribery or kickbacks. The mail and wire fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, impose criminal penalties for the use of mail or interstate wire communications to deprive another of money or property through a "scheme or artifice to defraud." This report discusses wire and mail fraud and examines relevant court cases.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond

U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond

Date: July 29, 2010
Creator: Ribando Seelke, Clare & Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: This report provides a framework for examining the current status and future prospects for U.S.- Mexican security cooperation. It begins with a brief discussion of the threat that drug trafficking and related crime and violence pose to both nations, followed by an analysis of the evolution of the Mérida Initiative. The report then provides an overview of the Peña Nieto government's security strategy and how it is affecting the Mérida Initiative. The report then examines key aspects of the current U.S.-Mexican security strategy and concludes by raising policy issues that may affect bilateral efforts.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Date: August 4, 2010
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun & Siskin, Alison
Description: This report focuses on international and domestic human trafficking and U.S. policy responses, with particular emphasis on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and its subsequent reauthorizations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Cocaine Sentencing Disparity: Sentencing Guidelines, Jurisprudence, and Legislation

Federal Cocaine Sentencing Disparity: Sentencing Guidelines, Jurisprudence, and Legislation

Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.
Description: This report discusses legislation and several court cases to examine the changing nature of Crack Cocaine penalties in comparison to powder cocaine. Until 2005, the Guidelines were binding on federal courts: the judge had discretion to sentence a defendant, but only within the narrow sentencing range that the Guidelines provided. In its 2005 opinion United States v. Booker, the Supreme Court declared that the Guidelines must be considered advisory rather than mandatory, in order to comply with the Constitution. Instead of being bound by the Guidelines, sentencing courts must treat the federal guidelines as just one of a number of sentencing factors (which include the need to avoid undue sentencing disparity).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress

Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress

Date: August 6, 2010
Creator: Gottron, Frank & Shea, Dana A.
Description: This report focuses on four areas under congressional consideration deemed critical to the success of the biodefense enterprise: strategic planning; risk assessment; surveillance; and the development, procurement, and distribution of medical countermeasures. This report also discusses the effectiveness and sufficiency of programs implementing these aspects of the federal biodefense efforts, outside analysts' suggestions for improving the government's efforts, and current issues under congressional consideration.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations for FY2011

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations for FY2011

Date: August 11, 2010
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) budget and operations. This report chronicles congressional action on the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies Appropriations bills, as well as any FY2010 supplemental appropriations bills, that provide funding for ATF.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond

U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond

Date: August 16, 2010
Creator: Ribando Seelke, Clare & Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: This report looks at the funding and Congressional oversight for this the joint U.S.-Mexico effort to curb drug trafficking and violence via the Initiative.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence

Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence

Date: August 24, 2010
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.; Lake, Jennifer E.; Franco, Celinda; Haddal, Chad C.; Krouse, William J. & Randol, Mark A.
Description: This report focuses on how policy makers would identify any spillover of drug trafficking-related violence into the United States. This report provides an overview of Mexican drug trafficking organization structures, how they conduct business, and the relationship between the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and their partnerships operating here in the United States; a discussion of the illicit drug trade between Mexico and the United States, as well as a discussion of factors implicated in drug trafficking-related violence; an analysis of the possible nature of any spillover violence that may arise, as well as issues involved in accurately identifying and measuring such violence; and an evaluation of available crime rate data and a discussion of how this data may or may not reflect changes in drug trafficking-related crime.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

Date: August 27, 2010
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress. The report concludes with salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest, including the 1994-2004 LCAFD ban.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues

Date: September 15, 2010
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department