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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law

Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law

Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried, and punished according to the laws of the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under certain limited circumstances. A surprising number of federal criminal statutes have extraterritorial application, but prosecutions have been few. This may be because when extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction does exist, practical and legal complications, and sometimes diplomatic considerations, may counsel against its exercise.
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Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons.
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DNA Databanking: Selected Fourth Amendment Issues and Analysis

DNA Databanking: Selected Fourth Amendment Issues and Analysis

Date: June 6, 2011
Creator: Barbour, Emily C.
Description: This report looks at how the practice of DNA database programs, which have been looked at favorably by Congress, are in possible violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. It looks at how the databases' legality has currently been holding up in court, as well as how new advances and revelations in the science of forensic analysis and databanking may have potentially significant legal implications.
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Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy

Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy

Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: Kronstadt, K. Alan & Katzman, Kenneth
Description: Increasing militant activity in western Pakistan poses three key national security threats: an increased potential for major attacks against the United States itself; a growing threat to Pakistani stability; and a hindrance of U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. This report addresses this issue at length. It also describes the recent upsurge of militant activity on the Pakistani side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, as well as the general political climates of Pakistan and Afghanistan and their relationships with the United States.
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Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report briefly describes a provision known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations that prohibits ATF from disclosing firearm trace data and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigatoin or agency licensing proceeding. The Tiahrt amendment is so called because its sponsor is Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors favors the repeal of this rider, but there is much opposition to that motion.
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The Brady Handgun Control Act: Constitutional Issues

The Brady Handgun Control Act: Constitutional Issues

Date: October 25, 1995
Creator: Schrader, Dorothy
Description: The Brady Handgun Control Act established a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, during which local law enforcement can make reasonable efforts to conduct background checks in available records and block and sales to convicted felons and other disqualified persons. This report reviews the background of federal gun control legislation, analyzes the conflict in the courts over the constitutionality under the Tenth Amendment of the duties placed on local law enforcement, and considers the implications of the decisions for Brady Act enforcement.
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Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: Border Searches Under the Fourth Amendment

Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: Border Searches Under the Fourth Amendment

Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule
Description: This report first outlines the statutes authorizing certain federal officers to conduct warrantless searches. It then addresses the scope of the government's constitutional authority to search and seize persons and property at the border. It also describes the varying levels of suspicion generally required for each type of border search as interpreted by the courts. Finally, this report lists several bills before the 111th Congress that address border searches. This report does not address interior searches and seizures performed by immigration personnel since they are not traditional "border searches."
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Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues

Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program.
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The National Response Framework: Overview and Possible Issues for Congress

The National Response Framework: Overview and Possible Issues for Congress

Date: November 20, 2008
Creator: Lindsay, Bruce R.
Description: In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress and the President consolidated numerous federal emergency plans into the National Response Plan (NRP). This report discusses how national response planning documents have evolved over time and describes the authorities that shape the National Response Framework (NRF). Several issue areas that might be examined for potential lawmaking and oversight concerning the NRF are also highlighted.
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Alert Systems for Missing Adults in Eleven States: Background and Issues for Congress

Alert Systems for Missing Adults in Eleven States: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: May 7, 2009
Creator: Fernandes, Adrienne L. & Colello, Kirsten J.
Description: This report discusses the emerging development of nationwide alert systems to recover missing adults, such as those with mental impairment (such as Alzheimer's disease), developmental disabilities, or suicidal tendencies. This report provides an overview of such alert systems in 11 states: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. This report also provides a discussion of issues for Congress to consider with respect to the federal role, if any, in developing state alert programs for missing adults.
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