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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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—Responsibilities and Potential Congressional Concerns

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—Responsibilities and Potential Congressional Concerns

Date: December 19, 2011
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Description: This report looks at inadequacies present in the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) which prevent the Center from adequately performing its duty. These inadequacies include issues with agency organization, lack of resources, and a focus on threats from Yemen over domestic threats.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: December 15, 2005
Creator: Ribando, Clare
Description: This report describes the nature and scope of the problem of trafficking in persons in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report then describes U.S. efforts to deal with trafficking in persons in the region, as well as discusses the successes and failures of some recent country and regional anti-trafficking efforts. The report concludes by raising several issues for policy consideration that may be helpful as the 109th Congress continues to address human trafficking as part of its authorization, appropriations, and oversight activities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Violence Against Women Act: History, Federal Funding, and Reauthorizing Legislation

Violence Against Women Act: History, Federal Funding, and Reauthorizing Legislation

Date: July 15, 2004
Creator: Laney, Garrine P.
Description: This report discusses the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2000 which reauthorized most of the original act’s programs and created new grant programs to prevent sexual assaults on campuses, assist victims of violence with civil legal concerns, create transitional housing for victims of domestic abuse (administered by HHS), and enhance protections for elderly and disabled victims of domestic violence. VAWA 2000, also, created a pilot program for safe custody exchange for families of domestic violence.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/ Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/ Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations

Date: December 23, 2005
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F. & Epstein, Susan B.
Description: This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2006 appropriations legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Identity Theft Laws: State Penalties and Remedies and Pending Federal Bills

Identity Theft Laws: State Penalties and Remedies and Pending Federal Bills

Date: June 1, 2007
Creator: Rainson, Tara A.
Description: This report provides an overview of state laws on identity theft. It discusses state laws that penalize identity theft, as well as state laws that assist identity theft victims, including those that permit consumers to block unauthorized persons from obtaining their credit information, known as “security freezes.” The report also includes a survey of state “credit freeze” statutes. The report concludes with summaries of federal identity theft legislation pending in the 110th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 106th Congress

Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 106th Congress

Date: January 11, 2001
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses federal mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, which demand that execution or incarceration follow criminal conviction. They cover drug dealing, murdering federal officials, and using a gun to commit a federal crime. They circumscribe judicial sentencing discretion. They have been criticized as unthinkingly harsh and incompatible with a rational sentencing guideline system; yet they have also been embraced as hallmarks of truth in sentence and a certain means of incapacitating the criminally dangerous.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
RICO: An Abridged Sketch

RICO: An Abridged Sketch

Date: November 3, 2004
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions enacted by Congress as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
First Responder Initiative: Policy Issues and Options

First Responder Initiative: Policy Issues and Options

Date: June 4, 2003
Creator: Canada, Ben
Description: This report provides background information and policy analysis pertinent to proposals to restructure first responder assistance programs. Specifically, this report provides information on existing programs, appropriations, legislation in the 107th and 108th Congress, and selected policy issues. This report does not discuss all relevant policy issues, but, rather, those issues that may be germane to any significant restructuring of existing programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The International Criminal Court Treaty: Description, Policy Issues, and Congressional Concerns

The International Criminal Court Treaty: Description, Policy Issues, and Congressional Concerns

Date: January 6, 1999
Creator: Grigorian, Ellen
Description: This report discusses the events leading to the creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal and U.S. perspectives on the Court including: problematic provisions in the ICC Treaty, congressional considerations, and potential implications for U.S. foreign policy.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic

Date: July 18, 2014
Creator: Tehan, Rita
Description: This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. In addition, the report lists selected cybersecurity-related websites for congressional and government agencies, news, international organizations, and organizations or institutions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System

Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System

Date: October 13, 2015
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Dismissals of Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)

In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Dismissals of Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)

Date: October 29, 2008
Creator: Henning, Anna C.
Description: This report summarizes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and jurisdiction in cases against foreign defendants and analyzes the recent court of appeals decision. This report examines the legal bases for those dismissals.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?

Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?

Date: October 29, 2015
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation Following "El Chapo" Guzmán's Escape

U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation Following "El Chapo" Guzmán's Escape

Date: October 20, 2015
Creator: Beittel, June S. & Seelke, Clare Ribando
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department