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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Digital Searches and Seizures: Overview of Proposed Amendments to Rule 41 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure
This report provides a brief overview of the proposed amendment to Rule 41, which would amend the federal search and seizure rules to permit the government to remotely access electronic devices although the location of the device may be unknown. First, the report provides a background on the origin of, and rationale underlying, the proposed amendment and a description of the rule as currently written. Second, it reviews the potential changes made by the proposed amendment and will survey various concerns commenters have raised with the proposal. Lastly, this report addresses efforts being made in Congress to alter, delay, or stop this rule change. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855809/
Trade-Based Money Laundering: Overview and Policy Issues
This report discusses the scope of the trade-based money laundering (TBML) problem and analyzes selected U.S. government policy responses to address TBML. It includes a listing of hearings in the 114th Congress that addressed TBML. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855905/
What's RICO?
This legal sidebar briefly discusses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) portion of Title 18 of the United States Code. In spite of its name and origin, RICO is not limited to "mobsters" or members of "organized crime" as those terms are popularly understood. Rather, it covers those activities which Congress felt characterized the conduct of organized crime, no matter who actually engages in them. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855763/
When Are Violent Crimes Federal Hate Crimes?
This legal sidebar briefly explains federal law in regards to hate crimes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855850/
Mass Shootings and Terrorism: CRS Products
This document provides a list of CRS reports on issues relevant to the mass shooting incident in Florida, including mass murder with firearms, firearms regulation, domestic terrorism, and hate crime. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855957/
Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Hate Crime and Homegrown Violent Extremism
This report examines the differences between domestic terrorism, hate crime, and homegrown violent extremism. Federal law enforcement agencies use these three distinct concepts to categorize key types of criminals whose illegal activities are at least partly ideologically motivated. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855841/
FY2017 Appropriations for the Department of Justice
This report discusses appropriations for the Department of Justice (DOJ) for fiscal year 2017. It includes an overview of the DOJ's accounts, broken down by department and program; an comparison of appropriations for fiscal years 2016 and 2017; and select legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855958/
RICO: A Brief Sketch
This report examines the various elements of federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions and discusses constitutional questions pertaining to the law. In spite of its name and origin, RICO is not limited to "mobsters" or members of "organized crime" as those terms are popularly understood. Rather, it covers those activities which Congress felt characterized the conduct of organized crime, no matter who actually engages in them. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855858/
The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713): A Summary
This report examines H.R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, which addresses the sentences that may be imposed in various drug and firearms cases. It proposes amendments to those areas of federal law that govern mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for drug and firearm offenses; the so-called safety valves which permits court to impose sentences below otherwise required mandatory minimums in the case of certain low-level drug offenders; and the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855825/
Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education
This report provides background information on sexual violence on campus and its prevalence, descriptions of the Clery Act and Title IX, and an analysis of prominent policy and legal issues related to these two statutes. It also includes a brief description of a related third statute focused on educational privacy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847665/
Public Trust and Law Enforcement--A Brief Discussion for Policymakers
This report provides a brief overview of police-community relations and how the federal government might be able to promote more accountability and better relationships between citizens and law enforcement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847763/
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824625/
Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview
This report is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824725/
Federal Conspiracy Law: A Sketch
This is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824647/
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative, with details about each of the program's four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824641/
Juvenile Justice Funding Trends
This report provides a brief overview of the juvenile justice grant programs and the overall appropriation administered by the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). There is no federal juvenile justice system, however the government uses federal juvenile justice entities and grant programs in order to influence the states' systems. Eligibility for some of these grant programs is tied to certain mandates that the states must adhere to in order to receive federal funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824606/
President Obama Announces Executive Actions to "Reduce Gun Violence"
This report briefly discusses executive actions aimed at, among other things, "keep[ing] guns out of the wrong hands through background checks" and "mak[ing] our communities safer from gun violence." These actions include, for example, directing specified executive agencies to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology and finalizing a rule requiring firearms shippers to notify law enforcement of any firearms lost or stolen in transit. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824798/
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative, with details about each of the program's four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824428/
Criminal Justice Reform: One Judge's View
This report briefly provides highlights from an article written by Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in which he recommended 26 changes in the U.S. criminal justice system, federal and state. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824682/
Free-Riders or Compelled Riders? Key Takeaways as Court Considers Major Union Dues Case
This report briefly outlines the ongoing debate regarding Union dues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belong to a union, with more than 700,000 additional government employees being represented by a union without belonging to the union. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824656/
Former U.S. Hostages of Iran to be Eligible for Compensation
This legal sidebar briefly discusses the U.S. victims of the 1979-1981 Iran Hostage Crisis, who will become eligible to receive up to $4.4 million each in compensation, thanks to the Justice for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824433/
Tying Up Loose Ends... Supreme Court To Evaluate Federal Firearm Provision Again
This legal sidebar discusses certiorari to hear Voisine v. United States, a decision examining the federal provision that makes it unlawful for an individual to possess a firearm or ammunition if he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (MCDV). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795446/
Police Use of Force: Rules, Remedies, and Reforms
This report addresses three overarching questions to provide legal context for the debate concerning the appropriate level of force police officers should wield: (1) what are the constitutional rules governing an officer's use of force; (2) what role has Congress played in providing a remedy for a violation of these rules; and (3) what are the potential reforms to these rules and remedies? digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795772/
Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?
Overall, homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both rates are at historic lows. An analysis comparing 2014 and 2015 homicide data from the nation's 60 most populous cities suggests that violent crime is not increasing. This report discusses several short-term factors that might help explain some of the reported upticks in violent crime across the country. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795528/
The Crime Victims Fund: Federal Support for Victims of Crime
This report provides background and funding information for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) programs and the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). It describes the process through which CVF funds are allocated and explains how the CVF impacts the annual budget for DOJ. It then provides an analysis of selected issues that Congress may consider regarding the CVF and the federal budget. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795823/
Sentencing Reform: Comparison of Selected Proposals
This report is a comparison of selected criminal sentencing reform bills as introduced: H.R. 3713, H.R. 2944, S. 502, and H.R. 920; and S. 2123 as passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a manager's amendment). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795834/
Is This the First Step in Undoing Mass Incarceration? 6,000 Federal Drug Offenders Set to be Released
In early November, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is scheduled to release approximately 6,000 federal inmates convicted of drug trafficking offenses. This report briefly examines the background of this release and its potential effects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795352/
U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation Following "El Chapo" Guzmán's Escape
This report discusses U.S.-Mexican security cooperation in the wake of the escape of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán on July 11, 2015, from a maximum security federal prison near Mexico City. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795808/
Backlog of Sexual Assault Evidence: In Brief
This report provides background on the sexual assault kit (SAKs, also referred to as "rape kits") backlog and information on federal efforts to reduce it. The backlog of SAKs has raised concerns over justice for assault victims and that additional victimizations could have been prevented had the evidence from any given kit been tested and the perpetrator apprehended in a timely manner. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795478/
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): Background and Funding
This report provides an overview of the federal response to domestic violence--defined broadly to include acts of physical and nonphysical violence against spouses and other intimate partners--through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795432/
Sentence Reform Acts: S.2123 and H.R. 3713
This report discusses the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, S. 2123, and the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 3713, use virtually identical language to reduce the impact of the mandatory minimum sentences which federal courts must now impose for certain drug trafficking and firearms offenses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795423/
Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System
This report provides information on the use of risk and needs assessment in the criminal justice system. It starts with an overview of risk and needs assessment and a discussion of some of the critiques of it. The report concludes with a discussion of the issues policymakers might consider if they debate legislation to expand the use of risk and needs assessment in the federal prison system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795663/
Federal Tactical Teams
This report provides a brief overview of the development of tactical teams at the state and local level and the concerns raised by their expansion. It then discusses the composition of these teams in the federal government. It concludes with a discussion of potential issues for policymakers to consider if they take up legislation or conduct oversight related to how the federal government uses tactical teams. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795776/
Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress
This report explores current foreign policy issues confronting U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, the interrelationship among existing polices, and the historical and current role of Congress in such efforts. Given recent challenges in balancing budget priorities, the 112th Congress may choose to consider certain aspects of this issue further, including the effectiveness of international anti-trafficking projects, interagency coordination mechanisms, and the monitoring and enforcement of anti-trafficking regulations, particularly as they relate to the activities of U.S. government contractors and subcontractors operating overseas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822673/
Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and Victims, 1999-2013
This report analyzes mass shootings for a 15-year period (1999-2013). CRS analysis of the FBI SHR dataset and other research indicates that offenders committed at least 317 mass shootings, murdered 1,554 victims, and nonfatally wounded another 441 victims entirely with firearms during that 15-year period. The prevalence of mass shooting incidents and victim counts fluctuated sporadically from year to year. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743624/
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview
This report discusses the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). The law requires a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g), who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743592/
Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean
This report describes the nature and scope of the problem of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean, including U.S. efforts to deal with trafficking in persons in the region, as well as the successes and failures of some recent country and regional antitrafficking efforts. The report concludes by raising issues that may be helpful for the 113th Congress to consider as it continues to address human trafficking as part of its authorization, appropriations, and oversight activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743423/
Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System
This report provides information on the use of risk and needs assessment in the criminal justice system. It starts with an overview of risk and needs assessment and a discussion of some critiques. The report concludes with a discussion of the issues policymakers might consider if they debate legislation to expand the use of risk and needs assessment in the federal prison system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743497/
U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation Following "El Chapo" Guzmán's Escape
This report discusses the escape of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán on July 11, 2015, from a maximum security federal prison near Mexico City. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743394/
Charleston, SC, Mass Shooter Might Have Been Denied a Handgun If Not for Possible Recordkeeping Oversights
This report briefly discusses the announcement by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey that the alleged assailant in the Charleston, SC, mass murder/shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church might have been prevented from acquiring a handgun if not for possible recordkeeping oversights on the part of the FBI and Columbia, SC, city police and county sheriff's departments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700694/
France: Efforts to Counter Islamist Terrorism and Radicalization
This report briefly discusses heightened concern regarding the threat of Islamist terrorism in France and Europe. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700826/
Sex Trafficking: An Overview of Federal Criminal Law
This report discusses federal laws on sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is a state crime. Federal law, however, makes it a federal crime to conduct the activities of a sex trafficking enterprise in a way that affects interstate or foreign commerce or that involves travel in interstate or foreign commerce. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700838/
Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Other Illegal Activity
This report briefly discusses key differences between domestic terrorism and ordinary criminal activity. Unlike ordinary criminals--who are often driven by self-centered motives such as profit and tend to opportunistically seek easy prey--domestic terrorists are driven by a cause or ideology. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700767/
Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System
This report provides information on the use of risk and needs assessment in the criminal justice system. It starts with an overview of risk and needs assessment and a discussion of some of the critiques of it. The report concludes with a discussion of the issues policymakers might consider if they debate legislation to expand the use of risk and needs assessment in the federal prison system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700810/
South Carolina Church Shooting and Hate Crime in the United States
This report provides statistics on Hate Crimes in the United States, in the wake of the South Carolina Church Shooting on June 18, 2015. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700885/
Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis
This report analyzes the sharing of cyberattack information by government with private companies, by private companies with the government, and among private companies. Sharing information with consumers is mentioned but is not the central focus of this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689138/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report briefly discusses the federal grand jury, which exists to investigate crimes against the United States and to secure the constitutional right of grand jury indictment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689485/
The Federal Grand Jury
This report discusses the federal grand jury, which exists to investigate crimes against the United States and to secure the constitutional right of grand jury indictment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689320/
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides updated information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative before delving into its four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider as it continues to fund and oversee the Mérida Initiative and broader U.S.-Mexican security cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627094/
Missing and Exploited Children: Background, Policies, and Issues
This report covers only select aspects of the broader topic of missing and exploited children. It begins with an overview of the scope of the missing and exploited children issue, including definitions and approximate numbers of children known to be missing or exploited. The report also provides information about the Missing and Exploited Children's (MEC) program's funding, oversight, and major components. Finally, the report discusses issues that may be relevant to the MEC program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627104/
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