United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 online

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oners are housed in local county facilities. Because of overcrowding
in many State facilities, as I said, particularly in my State that I
am most familiar with, local jails are often used to house those
prisoners. We urge you to assure that local governments are given
an adequate role in the State application process.

And finally, we are concerned that the drug court provisions
which are included in the current law are repealed. Drug courts do
provide an important alternative to drug abusers facing charges for
nonviolent first charges. We would urge you to revisit that section.

We appreciate, in conclusion, the hard work, the thought that
has gone into drafting H.R. 3. We look forward to working with you
as you move on it. Let me again commend you and the sponsor, in
particular Congressman McCollum, for the flexibility you have
written into the law enforcement block grant. We appreciate the
opportunity of testifying here today and for this legislation being
responsive to the needs of cities.

Mr. McCollum [presiding]. Thank you very much. Mayor Ashe.
We very much appreciate your taking the time to come the distance
you have to be with us today and the very constructive suggestions
you have made.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Ashe follows:]



199

Prepared Statement of Victor Ashe, Mayor of Knoxville, TN, and President,
U.S. Conference of Mayors

Chairman McCollum, members of the Subcommittee, I am Victor Ashe, Mayor of

Knoxville and President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. I appear before you this moming

both on behalf of both the Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. I must first

complement you on your approach to providing funds to local govenmients for both additional

police officers and for prevention through the law enforcement block grant included in HR 3, the

Taking Back our Streets Act of 1995. You have crafted a reasonable compromise to the debate

of prevention versus enforcement, and you have done it in a way that provides local officials with

flexibility and the opportunity to design an approach to controlling crime and violence which

reflects their communities' needs. I think this will serve our cities well.

Just over one year ago, the Conference of Mayors brought together mayors and police
chiefs to develop a National Action Plan to Combat Violent Crime. That plan, which has been
adopted as policy by both the Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Association,
calls for a balanced approach to addressing the problems of crime and violence we face in our
cities today. It calls for flexible federal assistance to cities to increase the number of police
officers engaged in community policing in our cities. It calls for addressing the root causes of
crime through a variety of preventive measures. It calls for enhancing the various components
of our criminal justice system and it calls for expanding our efforts to control drug abuse and
drug trafficking. That plan was the basis for our efforts last year in our work with Congress and
the Administration on a crime bill that would make a difference in our cities.

As you are aware, we strongly supported the crime bill which passed the Congress last
year. That is not to say it was a perfect bill. There are provisions in it we would have like to



200



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have seen written differently. Like most legislation, it was an amalgam of many different
legislative proposals and points of view. We have worked hard since it was signed into law in
September to see it implemented. The Department of Justice has done a solid job in getting the
COPS program moving quickly and in a way that has been responsive to the needs of local
governments. Attorney General Janet Reno and Associate Attorney General John Schmidt have
worked hard to get the COPS program off the ground. What was essentially a brand new,
complex program is up and ruiming and, more importantly, new police officers are now in
training and some even on the streets of our cities as a result of their quick and effective
implementation of the COPS program.

The Law Enforcement Block Grant included in HR 3, however, builds upon and improves
last year's law. It provides local governments direct funding through a formula-based allocation
which they can use to hire and train new police officers and support personnel, pay overtime to
existing officers and support persormel, procure equipment and technology related to law
enforcement, enhance school security and establish crime prevention programs. In Knoxville,
Chief Phil Keith and 1, working with the community, would be able to design a strategy that
builds on our existing efforts and combines increased enforcement and prevention in a marmer
that responds to the needs of our city. Local officials know best what those needs are, and they
are different in every city. Local officials know if they need to hire and train new officers;
increase civilianization within their police department so that sworn officers can spend more time
out on the streets; purchase equipment that can help to link police to the citizens they serve; or



201



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provide increased alternatives and hope to young pjeople in particular that will prevent crime from
occuning in the first place.

We do have a few comments on your bill as it was drafted:

* We would suggest that the language relating to crime prevention activities be made more
flexible. We suggest that you drop the phrase "substantial participation" so that it is clear
that law enforcement officials must be involved in any prevention activities funded, but
not as intimately as that phrase suggests. In addition we suggest you either drop the
reference to neighborhood watches and citizen patrols or greatly expand the list of
examples of the kinds of efforts which could be funded. Dropping the reference in the
statute makes the most sense to us.

* Allocating the funds among the states on the basis of part 1 violent crimes reported to the
FBI and then among cities within a state on the basis of part 1 violent crimes and
population seems a fair and a targeted approach. We need to make sure that it does not
penalize those communities which on their own have made strides in reducing crime in
the last few years. We need to also make sure that local governments with a high crime
rate which are located in states with an overall low crime rate are not penalized. We
know that no formula is ever perfect, that there are always winners and losers. You may
wish to ask the appropriate federal agency to do a run of the allocation system proposed
in the bill so that you can see how fairly it appears to allocate the funds.



202



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* ■ While we greatly appreciate the flexibility that your bill provides to local police

departments in determining their own policing strategies, we do not want to see a change
in the federal program signal a retreat from community policing. Community policing
has worked well in many of our conmiunities. We are not suggesting that you modify
the language in the block grant to require that departments engage in community policing,
but you may wish to and you may wish to consider language that would encourage them
to do so.

* Many of the research and demonstration efforts relating to community policing which
have been undertaken through the Office of Justice Programs have been important and
helpful to our cities. We want to assure that these efforts are not curtailed by any of the
proposed legislative changes.

* Our final conmient may be the most important of all. In Section 507 of the bill which
authorizes funds for Tmth in Sentencing Grants, there is a restriction that no funds may
be used for other purposes authorized by the Act unless the prison grants program is fully
funded. This sets a priority for prison grants ahead of law enforcement grants. We
cannot agree with this approach. What is most critical is making our cities safer. We
believe that accomplishing that goal falls first and foremost to law enforcement. Many
cities are making great strides in forming parmerships with commuiuties that prevent
crimes. A crime prevented has no victims; it doesn't clog our courts; it doesn't require
prison space. That should be our fu-st priority. Of course prison grants are important.



I



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but we cannot just fix one end of the criminal justice system. We urge you to drop
subsection (b) so that the two main funding streams established for state and local
governments established through the bill are treated fairly.

While my testimony today is focused on the law enforcement block grant, I feel
compelled to make a few conmients on other portions of the bill. We are concerned that
alternatives to conventional incarceration facilities - such as commimity-based facilities —
carmot be funded through the bill. We suggest that you consider providing the same kind of
flexibility in the prison funding as you are in the local law enforcement funding so that states and
localities can lave the flexibility in determining how to address their prison needs most
effectively. We are also concerned that the state is no longer required to consult with local
governments as it develops its application for the use of the prison grants, and that there is no
encouragement to the states to share those funds with local govenmients that operate correctional
facilities. Because of overcrowding in many state facilities, local jails are sometimes used to
house state prisoners. We urge you to assure that local governments be assured an adequate role
in the state application process.

Finally, we are concerned that the drug court provisions which are included in the current
law are repealed. Drug courts provide an important alternative to drug abusers facing charges
for non-violent first offenses. We do not understand the rationale for repealing this provision and
urge you to revisit it.



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We appreciate the thought and the hard work that has gone into drafting HR3, and look
forward to working with you as you move forward on it. We greatly appreciate the flexibility
which you have written into the Law Enforcement Block Grant. Thank you for the opportunity
to testify today and for being so responsive to the needs of our cities.



205

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Macy, your turn up and then we will get to
questions after we finish the panel.

STATEMENT OF ROBERT H. MACY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SEV-
ENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, AND PAST
PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION

Mr. Macy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to just take a point of personal privilege here. Mr.
Heineman, I, too, started as a police officer back in 1957. I am very
proud of the fact that in 25 minutes, my police officer son in Okla-
homa City will pin lieutenant bars upon his police officer wife. And
I won't be there, but I am very proud of the fact that that is going
on. So my views may be biased a little bit by the fact that we are
a police family.

On behalf of this Nation's prosecutors, I wish to thank you for
the opportunity to voice our support and our concerns for the Take
Back Our Streets Act of 1995. I am Bob Macy. I am the district
attorney of Oklahoma County, OK, a jurisdiction of 600,000 people,
including Oklahoma City. I have served the people of my judicial
district for almost 15 years as their district attorney. During that
time, I personally tried over 55 capital murder cases and I have
sent 43 murderers to death row, none of whom have been executed,
thanks to the interminable appellate process, including Federal ha-
beas corpus.

I would be happy to join in that debate about habeas corpus be-
cause for 15 years, I have had to deal with the families of the vic-
tims and try to explain to them why these murderers are still alive.

In addition to my local responsibilities, I have been a member of
the National District Attorneys Association for over 14 years and
I am proud to have served the Prosecutors of America as both the
president and the chairman of the board of that organization. And
I am here today to present you with some of the views of that
7,000-person organization.

In December 1994, our board of directors unanimously passed a
resolution supporting the concepts articulated in the Take Back
Our Streets Act. While many of the solutions offered by that act
are germane to the work of local prosecutors, let me concentrate at
this time on the primary topic for this hearing, which is the pro-
posed block grants for law enforcement.

In prefacing my remarks, let me tell you a little bit about the
transformation that we as local prosecutors are going through. For
many years, the prosecutorial function was described very narrowly
being that of representing the people of the Nation in the State and
the local criminal court systems. We played no part in either pre-
venting crime or administering punishment of those convicted of
crime. This self-defeating limitation is no longer, in my estimation,
valid, because if we as prosecutors do not fully engage all of our
energies and talents in preventing crime, in prosecuting crime, and
in punishing crime, then we do our citizens a vast disservice. I
would point out that in many of the jurisdictions across the Nation
today, the prosecutor is looked upon as the chief law enforcement
official.

The opportunity that you can offer to us in the Take Back Our
Streets Act is a chance to fulfill our obligation to wage all-out war



206

on crime. Whether we fully support it or not, last year's bill pro-
vides a point of reference from which we can grow. In that legisla-
tion, a number of specific grant programs were set out. I don't want
to waste my time today arguing the merits or lack thereof of any
specific program in the 1994 crime bill. Rather, I want to set before
you our position on what we consider to be an unwarranted intru-
sion by the Federal Government into what are properly the affairs
of State and local governments.

We need Federal assistance to supplement local funding in fight-
ing crime. No one debates that issue. The issue is instead how that
funding can best be used at the local level. Ladies and gentlemen,
I would suggest to you that the problems I face in Oklahoma City
are vastly different from those faced by my colleagues in St. Paul,
MN, or Boston, MA, or Newark, N.J. Likewise, my solutions, based
upon an entire lifetime of living and working in the criminal justice
system on the Federal, the State, and the local level, will be totally
different from those of other prosecutors. More importantly, per-
haps more importantly, I am directly accountable to the people who
elected me to office. If my solutions fail, if I fail to protect the citi-
zens of my county, then the people of Oklahoma County will make
the decision as to my continued effectiveness and whether I stay
in office. This is a referendum that each of you regularly face and
you understand the harsh reality of Election Day.

While the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of
1994 may have offered many good programs, they all suffered from
a common failing: All were dictated and managed by those who do
not answer to the citizens of my district. Thus, my plea is simple:
Help me get the means to fight crime in my community but don't
tell me how to do it.

Let me give you an example of how Federal moneys could be ef-
fectively used at the local level when provided with minimal strings
attached. In Oklahoma County about 2 or 3 years ago, I started a
program in every high school which rewards the students with —
excuse me, discounts and preferential hiring if they are drug free.
We test them. We provide testing for them. If they test free, they
are given a little identification card laminated. Then they are rou-
tinely tested thereafter, randomly tested thereafter. If they stay
drug free, then they can get discounts at many local businesses or
they can get job preferential hiring. This program rewards the good
kids.

What I wanted to do with this program, I wanted to get every
high school student in Oklahoma County involved in this program
and then have a contest to see which school would be most drug
free, thereby creating peer pressure. The problem is that this is an
expensive program. It costs about $10 a child to have them exam-
ined and there are no moneys available for that and it is difficult
to raise it locally.

The members of the National District Attorneys Association fully
supports your efforts to amend the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act to replace the numerous specified programs with
block grants that are vastly more effective at the State and local
levels. Midnight basketball may have great potential in some
areas; I don't question that, but in Oklahoma we have a midnight
curfew. No one is on the streets after midnight in Oklahoma City,



207

except those who have a right to be there. Those of us in local gov-
ernment need to decide what programs we really need.

In a personal vignette, partly in line with this plea, I have a
unique hobby, unique to my part of the country. I am a member
of the National Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. I spend a
lot of my spare time participating in rodeos in the team roping
competition. And I still, with my old gray hair, I can still manage
to win a saddle or a belt buckle now and then. But it certainly is
different from my daily work in terms of relieving stress.

In Oklahoma, Texas, and many other Western States, our prison
systems have professional quality rodeos with the inmates partici-
pating as contestants. As trustees, they compete. They spend
months getting ready for the rodeos and participating. The annual
prison rodeo is attended by literally thousands of people and it is
an important part of our prison system. While this is good for my
State and for our prison system, its value and effectiveness as a
penal program will certainly be open to debate in Maine or Ver-
mont or New Hampshire where other program needs may be more
paramount.

Again, the simple point I am trying to make is that I want and
need your help to fight crime but don't tell me what is best for the
citizens of my community. If I am wrong in the programs and posi-
tions that I choose, then I answer to them at the ballot box. With
all due respect, the bureaucrat in Washington, DC, does not.

In line with this position, let me call attention to one of the
failings of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and
of the proposal before you today. Both provide funds for police and
both provide funds for prisons. However, neither provides the suffi-
cient support for the prosecutors, judges, and defense counsel who
are critical components of our criminal system. All the police and
all the prisons provided for in either legislation are reduced in
value if those who commit crimes cannot be vigorously prosecuted
in a timely manner. If you forget the prosecutor and the other ele-
ments of the local court system, then you have not addressed the
elements that are necessary to fight crime.

In addition, a change to the Violent Crime Control and Law En-
forcement Act of 1994, not now contemplated by the new legisla-
tion, would also strengthen the ability of local governments to fight
crime. The 1994 crime bill provides limited funding in title XXI to
"ease the increased burdens on State court systems." As a result
of the mandates of that bill — that is what it does as a result of the
mandates of the bill. Authorized funding, however, is only $23 mil-
lion for fiscal year 1996 and $30 million for fiscal year 1997. When
divided up between the States and further divided up between the
prosecutors and the public defenders and the local courts, this
comes out to between $150,000 to $200,000 per State for prosecu-
tors and I submit to you there is not going to be much additional
prosecution for less than $200,000 in a State. I would urge that the
authorizations in this title be increased to ensure that the in-
creased efforts of the police forces are not wasted by the inability
of district attorneys to prosecute those persons that the police ar-
rest.

Again, I noted interest in Congressman Heineman's remarks
about the police. I couldn't agree more that if we had the prisons,



208

if we could lock these people down so the police ofBcers could quit
handling the same people over and over and over again, we would
not need more police officers. Twenty-five percent of the homicides
in the United States last year were committed by people who were
either on parole or bond or some type of probation.

When I stated my primary concern was the effective application
of block grant moneys, let me divert my mission for a brief moment
to place before you two other elements of the Take Back Our
Streets Act that are also important in the implementation of an ef-
fective and efficient plan to fight crime. As I stated earlier, pros-
ecutors have an interest in an effective penal system and elements
of this legislation go to the heart of this problem. First, we need
effective habeas corpus reform. The proposals in H.R. 3 are a start
but we believe they can go further. We need to minimize the intru-
sion of the Federal courts into State judicial proceedings. The
Framers of the Constitution did not intend that the Federal courts
should sit in full appellate review of State court proceedings.

Next, we need to call a halt to the frivolous prisoner lawsuits
that Attorney General Lungren talked about. Countless thousands
of frivolous claims are filed in both State and Federal court by par-
ties who are motivated by anger or greed and have nothing to lose.
The cost of defending those lawsuits is staggering in every State,
not just in California but in every State. Most of the complainants
have nothing better to do than to sit in their prison cells and
dream up new lawsuits. Incarceration is only effective when it is
truly punishment and not a vacation, a calculated cost of doing
business, or a place to dream up ways for self-enrichment.

Again, I want to thank you for allowing me to be here to present
you with the views of America's local prosecutors. We want to work
together with you to end this national tragedy of crime. And I
pledge to you that we, the people's attorneys, will do our part and
more if you give us the opportunity.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Macy.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Macy follows:]



209

Prepared Statement of Robert H. Macy, District Attorney, Seventh Judicial
District, Oklahoma City, OK, and Past President, National District Attor-
neys Association

ON BEHALF OF THIS COUNTRY'S PROSECUTORS, I WISH TO THANK YOU FOR
THIS OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE OUR SUPPORT, AND OUR CONCERNS, FOR THE
TAKE BACK OUR STREETS ACT OF 1995. I AM BOB MACY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, A JURISDICTION OF 600,000 AND
INCLUDING OKLAHO>LA CITY. I HAVE SERVED THE PEOPLE OF M\ JUDICIAL
DISTRICT FOR ALMOST FIFTEEN (15) YEARS. DURING THAT TIME, I HAVE
PERSONALLY TRIED OVER 55 CAPITAL MURDER CASES AND HAVE SENT 43
MURDERS TO DEATH ROW, NONE OF WHOM HAVE BEEN EXECUTED, THANKS
TO THE INTERMINABLE APPELLATE PROCESS, INCLUDING FEDERAL HABEAS
CORPUS. IN ADDITION TO MY LOCAL RESPONSIBILITIES, I HA\T BEEN A
MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION FOR OVER
FOURTEEN (14) YEARS AND AM PROUD TO HAVE SERVED THE PROSECUTORS
OF AMERICA AS BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
BOARD OF THAT ORGANIZATION. I AM HERE TODAY TO PRESENT YOU WITH
THE VIEWS OF THAT 7000 MEMBER ORGANIZATION.

IN DECEMBER OF 1994 OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CONCEPTS ARTICULATED IN THE "TAKE BACK
OUR STREETS ACT." VMIILE MANY OF THE SOLUTIONS OFFERED BY THAT
ACT ARE GERMANE TO THE WORK OF LOCAL PROSECUTORS LET ME
CONCENTRATE, AT THIS TIME, ON THE PRIMARY TOPIC FOR THIS HEARING,
THE PROPOSED BLOCK GRANTS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT.

IN PREFACING MY REMARKS, LET ME TELL YOU OF THE PROFESSIONAL
TRANSFORMATION THAT WE, THE LOCAL PROSECUTORS, ARE UNDERGOING.
FOR MANY YEARS THE PROSECUTOR FUNCTION WAS NARROWLY DEFINED AS
THAT OF REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION IN THE STATE AND
LOCAL CRIMINAL COLT^T SYSTEMS. WE PLAYED NO PART IN EITHER
PREVENTING CRIME OR IN ADMINISTERING PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE
CONVICTED OF CRIME. THIS SELF-DEFEATING LIMITATION IS NO LONGER, IN
MY ESTIMATION, VALID; IF WE AS PROSECUTORS DO NOT FULLY ENGAGE
OUR TALENTS IN PREVENTING CRIME, IN PROSECUTING CRIME AND IN
PUNISHING CRIME, THEN WE DO OUR CITIZENS A VAST DISSERVICE.

THE OPPORTUNITY THAT YOU CAN OFFER TO US THEN, IN THE T.AKE BACK
OUR STREETS ACT, IS THE CHANCE TO FULFILL OUR OBLIGATION TO WAGE



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 17 of 51)