Congressional Research Service Reports - 656 Matching Results

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Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes
his 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.
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.
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.
The Current Palestinian Uprising: Al-Aqsa Intifadah
Facing a September 13, 2000 deadline for concluding a comprehensive Israeli- Palestinian agreement on all permanent status issues, President Bill Clinton convened a trilateral summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat at Camp David on July 11, 2000. The summit, which lasted until July 24, 2000, did not produce an agreement. Members of 106th Congress responded to the al-Aqsa Intifadah by introducing bills that supported Israel’s actions, encouraged the U.S. Administration to oppose any anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations, called upon Palestinians to negotiate a resolution, and proposed cutting foreign assistance to the Palestinians if they did not stop the uprising.
Sudan: The Darfur Crisis and the Status of the North-South Negotiations
No Description Available.
Prisons: Policy Options for Congress
No Description Available.
In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Dismissals of Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)
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.
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.
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.
Botswana: The San (Bushmen) Rights Case
This report discusses the case of San people of Botswana against the government of Botswana.
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.
The Federal Grand Jury
This report is a brief general description of the federal grand jury, with particular emphasis on its more controversial aspects—relationship of the prosecutor and the grand jury, the rights of grand jury witnesses, grand jury secrecy, and rights of targets of a grand jury investigation.
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.
Gang Deterrence: A Legal Analysis of H.R. 1279 With References to S. 155
This report examines the Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005, H.R. 1279, which as passed by the House, among other things, would dramatically increase the criminal penalties that follow as a consequence of a conviction for violent crimes, including gang offenses. It would expand the instances where juveniles charged with federal crimes of violence can be tried as adults and would authorize the establishment of criminal street gang enforcement teams.
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
Congress has the authority to determine classes of aliens who may be admitted into the United States and the grounds for which they may be removed. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, certain conduct may either disqualify an alien from entering the United States ("inadmissibility") or provide grounds for his or her removal/deportation. Prominently included among this conduct is criminal activity. This report explores this issue in-depth, especially the difference between the terms "illegal alien" and "criminal alien" and relevant legislation.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and the application of the McCain amendment by the Department of Defense (DOD) in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities
This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S. 2673, and a rule proposed on June 20, 2002, by the SEC that would create a new auditor oversight board by using the SEC’s existing authority to regulate corporate accounting. The report focuses on Section 404(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal statute that regulates employer-sponsored pension plans. Section 404(a) is considered the “touchstone for understanding the scope and object of an ERISA fiduciary’s duties.”
Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities
This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S. 2673, and a rule proposed on June 20, 2002, by the SEC that would create a new auditor oversight board by using the SEC’s existing authority to regulate corporate accounting. The report focuses on Section 404(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal statute that regulates employer-sponsored pension plans. Section 404(a) is considered the “touchstone for understanding the scope and object of an ERISA fiduciary’s duties.”
Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities
This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S. 2673, and a rule proposed on June 20, 2002, by the SEC that would create a new auditor oversight board by using the SEC’s existing authority to regulate corporate accounting.
Terrorist Attack on USS Cole: Background and Issues for Congress
No Description Available.
Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities
This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S. 2673, and a rule proposed on June 20, 2002, by the SEC that would create a new auditor oversight board by using the SEC’s existing authority to regulate corporate accounting. The report focuses on Section 404(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal statute that regulates employer-sponsored pension plans. Section 404(a) is considered the “touchstone for understanding the scope and object of an ERISA fiduciary’s duties.”
Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities
This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S. 2673, and a rule proposed on June 20, 2002, by the SEC that would create a new auditor oversight board by using the SEC’s existing authority to regulate corporate accounting. The report focuses on Section 404(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal statute that regulates employer-sponsored pension plans. Section 404(a) is considered the “touchstone for understanding the scope and object of an ERISA fiduciary’s duties.”
Gangs in Central America
No Description Available.
Police and Law Enforcement: Selected Issues
No Description Available.
Federal Grand Juries: The Law in a Nutshell
This report discusses the history and current role of the federal grand jury in the American criminal justice system. The federal grand jury exists to investigate crimes against the United States and to secure the constitutional right of grand jury indictment. Its responsibilities require broad powers. As an arm of the United States District Court which summons it, upon whose process it relies, and which will receive any indictments it returns, the grand jury's subject matter and geographical jurisdiction is that of the court to which it is attached.
International Terrorism: Threat, Policy, and Response
This report examines international terrorist actions, threats, U.S. policies and responses. It reviews the nation’s use of tools at its disposal to combat terrorism, from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to physical security enhancement, economic sanctions, covert action, and military force.
International Terrorism: Threat, Policy, and Response
This report examines international terrorist actions, threats, U.S. policies and responses. It reviews the nation’s use of tools at its disposal to combat terrorism, from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to physical security enhancement, economic sanctions, covert action, and military force.
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
This report discusses the potential immigration consequences of criminal activity. “Criminal activity” generally refers to conduct for which an alien has been found or plead guilty before a court of law, though in limited circumstances consequences may attach to the commission of a crime or admission of acts constituting the essential elements of a crime. Consequences may flow from violations of either federal, state or, in many circumstances, foreign criminal law. Some federal crimes are set out in the INA itself — alien smuggling, for example. However, not all violations of immigration law are crimes. Notably, being in the U.S. without legal permission — i.e., being an “illegal alien” — is not a crime in and of itself. Thus, for example, an alien who overstays a student visa may be an “illegal alien,” in that the alien may be subject to removal from the U.S., but such an alien is not a “criminal alien.”
Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress
This report examines how the Department of Energy's (DOE) polygraph testing program has evolved and reviews certain scientific findings with regard to the polygraph's scientific validity. Several issues include whether: DOE's new screening program is focused on an appropriate number of individuals occupying only the most sensitive positions; the program should be expanded in order to adequately safeguard certain classified information; further research into the polygraph's scientific validity is needed; there are possible alternatives to the polygraph; and whether DOE should continue polygraph screening.
Identity Theft: Trends and Issues
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 November 1, 2009.
Identity Theft: Trends and Issues
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.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Appropriations for FY2008 and FY2009
This report provides a discussion of funding for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, including background information, a breakdown of funding from FY2008 regular and supplemental funding, and budget requests for FY2009.
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.
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.
Standards For Retroactive Application Based Upon Groundbreaking Supreme Court Decisions in Criminal Law
This report discusses the Supreme Court decision to announce the “new rule”, supreme courts decision that addresses an issue of law in a new way or for the first time. In criminal law new rules apply prospectively, but they also apply retroactively sometimes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Krouse, William J.
Congress continues to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. It is a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms. Gun control advocates argue that federal regulation of firearms curbs access by criminals, juveniles, and other "high-risk" individuals. Gun control opponents deny that federal policies keep firearms out of the hands of high-risk persons; rather, they argue, control often create burdens for law-abiding citizens and infringe upon constitutional rights provided by the Second Amendment. This report explores this issue in greater detail, including related legislation.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
Congress continues to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. It is a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms. Gun control advocates argue that federal regulation of firearms curbs access by criminals, juveniles, and other "high-risk" individuals, among other things. Gun control opponents deny that federal policies keep firearms out of the hands of high-risk persons; rather, they argue, controls often create burdens for law-abiding citizens and infringe upon constitutional rights provided by the Second Amendment. This report describes the details of this ongoing debate, including several pieces of legislation related to the issue.
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
This report discusses terrorism in the region tri-border area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay has been a regional hub for Hizballah and Hamas fundraising activities. The report also examines activity by Cuba, which has been designated by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1982, and asserts that Venezuela has virtually ceased its cooperation in the global war on terror.
Terrorist Capabilities for Cyberattack: Overview and Policy Issues
No Description Available.
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Latin American nations strongly condemned the attacks. This report outlines the U.S.-Latin American relationship in regards to terrorism, including several pieces of international counterterrorism legislation, including the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism and the Organization of American States.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Immigration: Terrorist Grounds for Exclusion of Aliens
This report opens with an overview of the grounds for inadmissibility and summarizes key legislation enacted in recent years. The section on current law explains the legal definitions of "terrorist activity," "terrorist organization," and other security-related grounds for inadmissibility and analyzes the legal implications of these provisions. The report then discusses the alien screening process to identify possible terrorists during the visa issuance process abroad and the inspections process at U.S. ports of entry. Where relevant, the report also discusses how recently enacted legislation affects these matters.
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Latin American nations strongly condemned the attacks. This report outlines the U.S.-Latin American relationship in regards to terrorism, including several pieces of international counterterrorism legislation, including the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism and the Organization of American States.
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Latin American nations strongly condemned the attacks. This report outlines the U.S.-Latin American relationship in regards to terrorism, including several pieces of international counterterrorism legislation, including the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism and the Organization of American States.
Money Laundering: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law
Money laundering is a federal crime, commonly understood as the process of cleansing the taint from the proceeds of crime. This report describes in detail the various aspects of money laundering in regards to federal criminal law.