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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Date: April 30, 2010
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include the purpose and number of assistance programs; the evaluation of the use of grant funding; the determination of eligible grant recipients; the programs' funding amounts; and the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
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: May 20, 2010
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun & Siskin, Alison
Description: Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is both an international and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards. This report focuses on human trafficking both internationally and within the United States. The report begins with an overview of human trafficking including a discussion of the definition of human trafficking, the scope of the problem globally, and an examination of the victims. It follows with an analysis of global anti-trafficking efforts by the United States and the international community. The report then focuses on trafficking into and within the United States, examining relief for trafficking victims in the United States and discussing U.S. law enforcement efforts to combat domestic trafficking. The report concludes with an overview of anti-trafficking legislation and an analysis of policy issues related to human trafficking.
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Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters

Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters

Date: May 24, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report provides background information regarding Miranda rights and public safety exception. The report discusses Supreme Court decisions on Miranda v. Arizona, due process inquiry, and the Fifth Amendment right.
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Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Date: May 27, 2010
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: This report first provides a brief federal legislative history of identity theft laws. It analyzes the current trends in identity theft, including prevalent identity theft-related crimes, the federal agencies involved in combating identity theft, and the trends in identity theft complaints and prosecutions. The report also discusses the relationship between data breaches and identity theft as well as possible effects of the FTC's Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, effective June 1, 2010. It also examines current legislation on identity theft and possible issues for the 111th Congress to consider.
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The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Opinions on the Jury's Role in Criminal Sentencing

The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Opinions on the Jury's Role in Criminal Sentencing

Date: June 7, 2010
Creator: Henning, Anna C.
Description: This report discusses Justice John Paul Stevens' opinions on the Jury's role in criminal sentencing. Justice Stevens has played a critical role in the Supreme Court's interpretation of a jury's role in criminal sentencing. In 2000, he wrote the majority opinion for the Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey, a landmark case in which the Court held that a judge typically may not increase a sentence beyond the range prescribed by statute unless the increase is based on facts determined by a jury "beyond a reasonable doubt." In 2005, he wrote one of two majority opinions in United States v. Booker, in which the Court applied the Apprendi rule to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In those two cases and in several other cases on this issue during the past few decades, Justice Stevens has been a leading voice, articulating a broad interpretation of the jury trial and due process rights at issue.
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Organized Retail Crime

Organized Retail Crime

Date: June 16, 2010
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: This report provides an overview of organized retail crime rings, their operations, and goods targeted. It then examines the domestic impact of organized retail crime (ORC) in the arenas of the economy, public health and safety, and domestic security. The report also outlines current efforts by retailers, resale markets, and the federal government to combat ORC. It then analyzes various policy issues that the 111th Congress may wish to consider, including whether current federal resources provided for the investigation of ORC are adequate, whether to amend the U.S. Code to criminalize ORC, and whether to regulate resale marketplaces that may be utilized as fences for criminals to sell stolen goods.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Guantanamo Detention Center: Legislative Activity in the 111th Congress

Guantanamo Detention Center: Legislative Activity in the 111th Congress

Date: June 17, 2010
Creator: Henning, Anna C.
Description: The detention of alleged enemy combatants at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, together with proposals to transfer some such individuals to the United States for prosecution or continued detention, has been a subject of considerable interest for Congress. Several authorization and appropriations measures enacted during the 111th Congress, and various pending bills, address the disposition and treatment of Guantanamo detainees. This report analyzes relevant provisions in enacted legislation and selected pending bills.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
D.C. Gun Laws and Proposed Amendments

D.C. Gun Laws and Proposed Amendments

Date: June 28, 2010
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Description: In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which declared three firearms provisions of the D.C. Code unconstitutional, a flurry of legislation was introduced both in Congress and in the District of Columbia Council. This report provides an analysis of the District's firearms laws and congressional proposals.
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Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: July 13, 2010
Creator: Ribando Seelke, Clare
Description: This report looks at instances of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Latin America. It looks at current legislation in the U.S. to combat this problem.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

Date: July 14, 2010
Creator: Arieff, Alexis; Margesson, Rhoda; Browne, Marjorie Ann & Weed, Matthew C.
Description: This report provides background on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its investigations in Africa, with an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Terrorist Material Support: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

Terrorist Material Support: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

Date: July 19, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A. The other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations, 18 U.S.C. 2339B. They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack.
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Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

Date: July 19, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A. The other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations, 18 U.S.C. 2339B. They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
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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.
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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
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department