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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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/
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate over the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. The report provides background information and analysis over the pros and cons of the debate and gun related statistics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847641/
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/
Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Background, Legal Analysis, and Policy Options
This report provides a summary of U.S. penal policy at the federal level. The report then discusses legislation that created the current federal sentencing structure, the different types of sentencing guidelines, and analyses of departures from the guidelines under the federal system and of possible policy options the 109th Congress may wish to consider if it chooses to address this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847666/
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate over the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. The report provides background information and analysis over the pros and cons of the debate and gun related statistics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847701/
Criminal Money Laundering Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report gives a brief overview of U.S. law as it relates to the crime of money laundering by identifying bills in the 109th Congress that have amended definitions or sentencing for money laundering and predicated offenses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824813/
Proposed Change to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) under S. 113
This report discusses S. 113, a bill to extend the coverage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") to non-U.S. persons who engage in international terrorism or activities in preparation for terrorist acts, without a showing of membership in or affiliation with an international terrorist group. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824819/
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/
Capital Punishment: An Overview of Federal Death Penalty Statutes
This report lists the current federal capital offenses and summarizes the procedures for federal civilian death penalty cases. Several laws are relevant to the topic including: P.L. 103-322, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994; the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996; and P.L. 107-197, the Terrorist Bombings Convention Implementation Act of 2002. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824804/
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/
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/
Combating Terrorism: First Emergency Supplemental Appropriations - Distribution of Funds to Departments and Agencies
This report provides background on the 2001 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, P.L. 107-38 (H.R. 2888) as well as the criteria for use of the funds developed by The Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It also outlines information about supplemental fund distributions in three tables. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824750/
War On Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
This report covers significant legislative and oversight activities of the 108th Congress that concern domestic law enforcement aspects of federal anti-drug policy. It also includes an overview of significant executive branch actions and other current developments of likely interest to the congressional audience that follows this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824754/
Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches
This report discusses various U.S. international narcotics policy approaches meant to achieve two main goals: to reduce the supply of illicit narcotics flowing into the United States, and to reduce the amount of illicit narcotics cultivated, processed, and consumed worldwide. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824496/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law: An Abbreviated Sketch
This report discusses the application of American criminal law outside the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821700/
Botswana: The San (Bushmen) Rights Case
This report discusses the case of San people of Botswana against the government of Botswana. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821706/
The Death Penalty: Capital Punishment Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses legislation regarding the death penalty in the 109th Congress. The USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act (Reauthorization Act) contains a number of death penalty related provisions. Some create new federal capital offenses; some add the death penalty as a sentencing option in the case of preexisting federal crimes; some alter the procedural attributes of federal capital cases. Other proposals offered during the 109th Congress would have followed the same pattern: some new crimes; some new penalties for old crimes; and some procedural adjustments. Only one of the other proposals, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, passed, although at least one House approved several others. Three proposals do not fit the pattern; they either would have abolished the death penalty as a federal sentencing alternative or would have imposed a moratorium upon executions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822361/
The Death Penalty: Capital Punishment Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses legislation regarding the death penalty in the 109th Congress. The USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act (Reauthorization Act) contains a number of death penalty related provisions. Some create new federal capital offenses; some add the death penalty as a sentencing option in the case of preexisting federal crimes; some alter the procedural attributes of federal capital cases. Other proposals offered during the 109th Congress would have followed the same pattern: some new crimes; some new penalties for old crimes; and some procedural adjustments. Only one of the other proposals, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, passed, although at least one House approved several others. Three proposals do not fit the pattern; they either would have abolished the death penalty as a federal sentencing alternative or would have imposed a moratorium upon executions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc818326/
Gangs in Central America
This report describes the gang problem in Central America, discusses country and regional approaches to deal with the gangs, and analyzes U.S. policy with respect to gangs in Central America. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822352/
Missing Adults: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report discusses demographics and record keeping of missing adults and unidentified remains, as well as some of the factors that may contribute to the disappearance of adults. This section also discusses federally funded databases that are used to track data on missing adults and unidentified individuals. The second section of the report describes the federal programs and initiatives to assist in locating missing adults, including funding data where applicable. Finally, the third section discusses issues about the federal role in missing adult cases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822380/
Missing Adults: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report discusses demographics and record keeping of missing adults and unidentified remains, and some of the factors that may contribute to the disappearance of adults. This section also discusses federally funded databases that are used to track data on missing adults and unidentified individuals. The second section of the report describes the federal programs and initiatives to assist in locating missing adults, including funding data for FY2002 through FY2008, where applicable. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819365/
Missing Adults: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report discusses demographics and record keeping of missing adults and unidentified remains, as well as some of the factors that may contribute to the disappearance of adults. This section also discusses federally-funded databases that are used to track data on missing adults and unidentified individuals. The second section of the report describes the federal programs and initiatives to assist in locating missing adults, including funding data where applicable. Finally, the third section discusses issues about the federal role in missing adult cases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820830/
Prison Litigation Reform Act: Survey of Post-Reform Act Prisoners' Civil Rights Cases
This report summarizes the Prison Litigation Reform Act and surveys post- Reform Act court decisions interpreting the Act and other cases concerning prisoners' civil rights. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822594/
Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822396/
Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 107th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820873/
Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820872/
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820948/
Crime and Forfeiture: The Innocent Third Party
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820885/
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820978/
Federal Capital Offenses: An Overview of Substantive and Procedural Law
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821144/
Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821091/
U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821030/
Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821094/
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—Responsibilities and Potential Congressional Concerns
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821073/
Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821093/
Violence Against Women Act: History, Federal Funding, and Reauthorizing Legislation
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821580/
Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/ Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821123/
Identity Theft Laws: State Penalties and Remedies and Pending Federal Bills
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822009/
Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes: An Overview of Legislation in the 106th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822475/
RICO: An Abridged Sketch
This report discusses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions enacted by Congress as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821985/
First Responder Initiative: Policy Issues and Options
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821994/
The International Criminal Court Treaty: Description, Policy Issues, and Congressional Concerns
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822498/
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/
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