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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Mr. Scott. I think that is an excellent program and shows what
you can do with very little money in reducing crime.

Mr. Ashe. No question. The DARE program would fit in there as

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you.

Mr. Heineman.

Mr. Heineman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And welcome to this panel here. It does my heart good to listen
to people from back home coming up here and telling it like it is.
We have taken testimony from you today, and folks, this is where
the road meets the rubber. Our Contract With America speaks to
answering what the people want.

Well, these are the people. They are speaking for themselves.
They are responsible for their jurisdictions. Of course, there is no
police chief there, at this point, but there is a mayor. And there is
a district attorney. And there is a sheriff. And they are telling you
as chief executive officers of their jurisdictions and departments
what they need. They are telling you that what is good for Louis-
ville is not good for Knoxville. What is good for Raleigh is not good
for Charlotte.

I trust sending block grants down to you people to use at your
discretion. I trust your use of those block grants and the docu-
mentation thereof. I know this morning, it was characterized that
when you are sending pork down to the local level, it will disappear
in bureaucratic budgets. I don't believe that.

I was part of that municipality that did receive block grants, and
I also was part of LEAA, and what was said today about LEAA by
Mr. Schmidt is probably on target. There was a lot of abuse, and
because of the abuse, we lost LEAA. But this is 20 years later. And
I think we need to listen to middle America. And we need to listen
to the people that are the consumers of what we in law enforce-
ment at the Federal level send down. And we need to send down
accurate information.


We heard today four times that there is money in the crime bill
of 1994, for 100,000 police officers. That is not true. And that
hasn't been true almost from the inception of that.

Even Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Commit-
tee, admitted that. He said there is no more money in there than
for, perhaps, 20,000 police officers. And I knew that at that time
and so does most of America. But we keep hearing this myth that
there is 100,000 police officers there. It is not true.

I support block grants and the flexibility given to you folks at the
local level to use it judiciously and wisely, and you have my sup-
port in that. And I strongly urge that this panel — I strongly urge
this Crime Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee to support
those block grants and let you make the decisions, because you are
responsible for your areas of jurisdiction.

Mr. Macy, what is wrong with the criminal justice system as it
now is constituted?

Mr. Macy. In most of the parts of the country, the police do an
excellent job. The prosecutors do an excellent job. In my State, we
have jury sentencing. They do a good job.

Once the sentence is pronounced, the system breaks down. When
you send someone off in Oklahoma, they serve maybe 13 percent
of their sentence. As you mentioned earlier, we keep our police —
our courts are handling the same people over and over, three times
in a 5-year period.

Every year, I send over 2,000 people to the penitentiary and they
send 2,000 back. And often they are worse than the 2,000 I send.
That is where the system really breaks down.

Incidentally, I would like to make one point here. You talk about
all these police officers. In Oklahoma City, 4 years ago, I led an ef-
fort to raise taxes of y4-cent sales tax to hire 300 new policemen
and 300 new firemen, and they did that. My felony case load went
from 7,000 to 9,000 in that 2-year period after those police officers
hit the streets. So if we are going to put more police out on the
streets, you need to be conscious of the fact that we need to have
more prosecutors, more judges and more critical than anything
else, more prisons to lock these people up.

Mr. Heineman. Let the record indicate that if that myth were a
reality of 100,000 police officers on the street, each making one ar-
rest a month, which comes to 1,200,000 arrests in a system, a
penal system that has in and about 800,000 capacity to hold it. So
what, in effect, that would do, to properly prosecute these people —
and let's say, we convict them all — the best that comes of that is
cutting down the sentences that those people in the penitentiaries
have right now, and these people will have, once that second year
is over, another 1,200,000 arrests and convictions.

I place the priority on prisons, not because I am brutal, but be-
cause I am realistic. That is where the problem is. We need less
criminals on the street.

I will stop preaching, and 3deld back my time, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Heineman, I appre-
ciate that very much.

Ms. Lofgren.

Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


It is great to see you, and congratulations, Mr. Macy, on your
special family event today. I think it is wonderful that you would
be here and not there to see such an important ceremony.

I know I was listening to you and I remember some times that
I testified, primarily in Sacramento not in Washington, at the other
side of the table — and on January 3 of this month, I was a county
supervisor and not a Member of Congress — so I am sjmnpathetic to
many of the comments you are making.

On the other hand, I am struggling with a couple of technical is-
sues and really philosophical issues. I agree very much, Mr. Macy,
that what works in San Jose, may not have any applicability in
your part of the country. And I do think it is important for local
officials to be able to use their creativity and to get the job done.

However, I am toying with the idea, since it is always at the
local level tempting, it seems almost overwhelmingly necessary to
deal with the emergency of the day, and yet sometimes we need a
little oomph to pay attention to the long view. And if we were to
put these funds in big block categories, and say x amount would
be spent on prevention programs that you design, that work and
make sense in your community, and x would be more in the en-
forcement end, do you think that would be workable? Either the
mayor or the district attorney?

And then also, I think it is very important that we all know what
the results have been and have some outcomes that we can all look
at. Because what we think is working, may or may not be working
and we want some objective standard, not just for the Federal Gov-
ernment, but for ourselves so that we are actually doing something
that is effective. Sometimes all we know is we think it is effective
but if we can measure, then we can correct or do a better job. If
you could comment on either one of those things.

Mr. Macy. Well, it would not bother me — as a matter of fact, it
might be the best way to do it, to have a certain percentage go to
prevention and certain percentage to prosecution, and so forth. I
have no problem with that because that leaves me the leeway then
to design what the prevention — I say me, it gives my local commu-
nity the opportunity to design those programs. And I think — I
know having just served as president of the National District At-
torneys Association, that across the Nation, prosecutors have been
extremely innovative in prevention programs.

I don't have any statistics — I could get some — as to programs
that worked. I started a truancy program 3 or 4 years ago, and
without going into a lot of details, it allows the local police and the
school board to work together. That program not only — we knew
that 90 percent of the people in the prison system were high school
dropouts. Not only did we manage to keep the kids in school, but
it reduced daytime burglary by 23 percent in the area where the
program worked.

Ms. LOFGREN. The best crime is one that never happens.

Mr. Ashe. I think you may want to look at the question — if you
start attaching percentages you, of course, open up a new debate.
And if a percentage, let's say you think it ought to be 30 percent
for prevention; someone else might think it ought to be 5 percent.
And yet there may be a mayor out there that wants to spend 50


percent. And you may have opened up a Pandora's box which you
may not want to pursue.

I mean, I am certainly not telling you — I am just throwing that
out as a point of discussion. If you truly believe in flexibility and
that is the overriding principle, then a broad percentage, perhaps.
But I would be reluctant to go down that path, because once some-
one suggested x percentage, you know another member is going to
suggest y, and y may not be what it really ought to be.

Ms. LOFGREN. Let me ask you this, because I think my county
will spend all the money on prevention. And you know there would
be some in the police arena who think that is not a good idea.
There ought to be some limits on it.

Mr. Ashe. Ours would be a mixture.

Ms. LOFGREN. I think there is an interest all of us have in mak-
ing sure that some investment is made to prevent children from be-
coming criminals, because those children who fall off the edge at
age 10, can go anywhere and do go anywhere and commit horrible
crimes, and so there is a national interest in prevention and get-
ting children on the right track and off the wrong track.

Let me ask you a technical issue, looking at the way the funds
would be allocated and how this works for counties causes me some
concern. I note that really the States are in the driver's seat as to
State prison construction, but everybody who goes to State prison
has to stop at county jail first, and there is no provision for funding
for county jails, and really no role for county officials in this whole
scheme, that I can find, unless there is a collaborative relationship,
which, unfortunately, is not always the case. So I am wondering if
maybe the sheriff could comment on that.

And finally, I am concerned that if you have a county where
there is a city with a high crime rate and this is a point made by
NACO, the city would get funds for law enforcement, but counties
bear most of the cost in terms of prosecution, defense, probation,
the courts and the like. And I have a concern that although well-
intentioned, the money would be front-loaded on enforcement at
the street level but we would have a breakdown in the system be-
cause of lack of resources for the other essential elements of it.

Mr. Peed. Money for prisons will help sheriffs, because just Fair-
fax County, for example, we have ready capacity of 589 beds in
Fairfax County jail beds. We have held for the last 6 months, 1,041
prisoners; 150 of those are State prisoners that should be into the
State systems. So money for prisons will in fact help local jails.

As a followup to the Congressman's comment over here about
three strikes and you are out, and more capacity, I am happy to
bring three criminal histories with me today that I thought I might
share with you. One fellow was arrested for murder in 1978 and
murder in 1991. He was released and arrested again in 1994, for
his second murder. He is now doing life imprisonment.

Another fellow who was arrested for rape in 1971 was released —
rape in 1971, and robbery in 1978, and then rape in 1993, three
rapes in 1993. And this is an Arlington case, Arlington, VA, case,
Fairfax County case. He is now doing life imprisonment. And this
one is a fellow on the street today. He is charged with robbery, and
he has a long criminal history. He is about 31 years of age, and


I thought if you would Hke to see what a career criminal looks like,
I thought I might show you his criminal history.

Mr. McCoLLUM. That is impressive, sheriff.

Mr. Peed. That is only part of it. Here is the other part of it.

Mr. McCOLLUM. I think you made your point. Thank you very
much. You made your point. That is quite a criminal history.

I suppose that Congressman Heineman could think of a few
cases when he was a police chief that looked like that.

Mr. Bryant.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Mr. Chairman, I want to add my wel-
come to you, and tell you how much we appreciate the job that you
have done as mayor of Knoxville and president of the U.S. Council
of Mayors.

And I also want to thank you other gentlemen. All three of you
have done a great job in clearly articulating your points today.

And I would yield back my time.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much.

Mrs. Schroeder.

Mrs. Schroeder. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank our witnesses for being here today.

Sheriff Peed, I was very interested in the hearing when you were
talking about your experiences in using rule XI and section 1988
to punish attorneys who bring frivolous prisoner suits. I was in
here when there was some testimony before on that also.

From your experiences, do you find this to be effective? Is this
a tool that is working and do we just need more information so
other people can use it as well as you? Or what would you say?

Mr. Peed. I think from the U.S. Supreme Court cases, there
needs to be broader exposure. I am sure all the district courts are
familiar with that, but just continue to permit cases to go forward
on frivolous matters. On rule XI sanctions, I am sure there are a
number of attorneys here who will tell you that it is not strong
enough. And 42 U.S.C. 1988, which allows the prevailing party to
recoup fees, also needs to be looked at, which gives local and Fed-
eral judges the authority to order attorney fees to prevailing par-
ties a little bit easier.

Right now, it is very difficult to get. In Virginia, rule XI sanc-
tions and 42 U.S.C. 1988 attorney's fees have only been awarded
two times. So it is very seldom used. When I won that case, about
a month ago, by the time I got back to my office from Alexandria
to Fairfax, VA, the Attorney General's office had heard about it and
had called to say congratulations.

Mrs. Schroeder. Let us congratulate you, too. It is nice to know
that there is a tool there, and I guess part of it is making sure that
people know how to use it.

Mr. Peed. It is a good tool. And I do think it needs to be re-
viewed by Congress and made just a little bit easier to prevail.

Mrs. Schroeder. The other thing I wanted to say to this panel,
I love what you are saying. If I were down there, I would probably
be saying the same thing. If you can find a bunch of people willing
to raise taxes and give it to you to spend it any way you want, why
not? If we could get you guys to raise taxes and send it to us, we
would do it, too.


I just want to know what has changed so much since LEAA
passed, that we wouldn't see those same kind of problems that we
saw with LEAA? You get bit by the dog the first time and people
have S3mnpathy. But if you go out and do the same thing again and
get bit the second time, people begin to think you should have
smartened up.

Mr. Ashe. I would just say, as the Congressman who has left the
room right now, that was 20 years ago. And in Tennessee, I was
a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and I was ac-
tually on the Law Enforcement Planning Commission. I don't think
in Tennessee — I won't say that we had a perfect record, but I don't
think we were burdened with problems that did occur in some
areas, to that degree.

But this particular proposal provides for direct grants to cities,
county, as well as the States. I think there is much greater ac-
countability by local officials. I think we are held to very high
standard. The mayor of Knoxville is seen at the grocery store. He
is at Kroger's and can be found. He has mayor's night in and may-
or's night out and is very accessible. We are held to account.

Mrs. SCHROEDER. And so am L But I think most of us

Mr. Ashe. I don't see this as a duplication of LEAA.

Mrs. SCHROEDER. I hope you are right. I must say, I worry a bit
about that because I begin to think we are creating some wonderful
stuff for "Prime Time Live" or someone to go after, and we just fur-
ther discredit government. That we should have some parameters
and some oversight.

The other thing that I wanted to respond to is that I heard lots
of people talking about midnight basketball, and I hope that every-
body understands that even in the bill that we did pass under sub-
title B, midnight basketball was just one of many, many, many dif-
ferent prevention proposals that were in there. There was abso-
lutely no mandate on anything. That this was also a grant of sorts
that had been crafted by Representative Castle from Delaware and
many others working together on that to give flexibility.

So it also wasn't tied to the prison book. I fear that we will never
see this block grant ever get to you because of its being tied to it,
it only happens if we fully fund the prisons.

Mr. Ashe. Well, as I said in my testimony, we do not feel that
provision, that is prisons, must be fully funded, should be there.
Because — although we think it would be great if it did occur, we
have no problem with fully funding the prison, but who knows
what the Senate will do? And we don't know today what they will

I mean, we don't know. I think your comment on midnight bas-
ketball, that is just something the media has picked out because
it seems to be attractive and everybody can understand it. I can
say that we have midnight basketball in Knoxville, but I think
neighborhood crime watches, as Congressman Scott was talking
about, frankly, has more of an impact to more people.

I don't think that you need to have a Federal program to fund
midnight basketball, but I think the grant which provides a wide
range of flexibility ought to give the mayor — and I ought to answer
to the people of Knoxville. If it is midnight basketball and the peo-


pie of ICnoxville don't want it, then they can get a new mayor. I
have got to defend what I recommend.

Mrs. SCHROEDER. And we have to answer, too, and it is a lot
tougher when you have to raise the money.

Mr. Ashe. I have raised taxes, too.

Mrs. ScHROEDER. I know.

I know the Attorney Greneral is having local meetings on this all
over America, but do any of you have any suggestions to us as to
what we might do to tighten the clinic defense bill? The horror
shows that we have seen going on in family planning clinics around
the country has been something that has troubled the Congress
very much, and I know that last night the Senate passed the reso-
lution on the issue saying we ought to do more. And I am wonder-
ing, would any of you have anything that we could suggest that
might help us?

Mr. Macy. I have not thought about this in these terms and I
think it is something that takes a lot of thought. No, I am not in
a position, Mrs. Schroeder, to respond to that. I do not have any
suggestions to offer at this time. It is something that I would be
happy to look into and respond, but off the top of my head, I don't
have any suggestions.

Mr. Peed. I also am not prepared to respond to that particular
question. I will say that the Virginia General Assembly took up the
issue as a State issue yesterday, and they passed a bill that con-
demned that kind of violence and provided some sanctions for it.

Mr. Ashe. The Conference of Mayors supports access. In Knox-
ville, TN, thank goodness, that has not become a problem, and I
hope it doesn't become one.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you, Mrs. Schroeder.

At this point, Mr. Chabot, you are recognized.

Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The gentlelady from Colorado suggested that we intend to raise
taxes at the Federal level, and I would suggest that most of us in-
tend to cut taxes at the Federal level and not raise them. And, in
fact, when we talk about block grants over the long run or sending
any money back to the States, I think that over time we should in-
stead look toward reducing Federal spending, cutting taxes at the
Federal level, and letting the States and local governments deter-
mine what is an appropriate tax level for their citizenry to pay and
what is an appropriate level of law enforcement to pay for.

I think it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to be collecting the
dollars here, and folks from back home sending the dollars here to
Washington, and then we trickle back those dollars to the commu-
nities, over the long term, that is what we would like to do.

Mrs. Schroeder. Will the gentleman yield?

I agree with the gentleman. I think the people who spend it
ought to have to raise it, if that is what you are saying.

Mr. Chabot. I think that is what I am saying, but you men-
tioned that we intended to raise taxes and that is certainly not
what I intend to do.

Mrs. Schroeder. Nor I.

Mr. Chabot. Good, then we agree on something. I believe that
you said you had prosecuted and sent 43 criminals to death row.


and to date, none of those folks has been executed. Over what pe-
riod of time is that?

Mr. Macy. I sent my first one in 1982, and the rest of them up
until — I sent my last one about 2 months ago, and I will give you
another one in 3 weeks.

Mr. Chabot. Here we are, 13 years later in your State, and the
death penalty has still not been carried out, and that goes to the
root of the problem. And those that argue that the death penalty
is not a deterrent, I think we have to look at how we have histori-
cally handled the death penalty, at least in the last couple of dec-

It has been absurd the way it has been handled. The appeals
process is carried out far too long and I think that is something we
at the State and Federal level have to work on.

And I guess the question I would have is, if we could come up
with a mechanism at the Federal level to dramatically reduce the
Federal appeals process, say, to six months or a year, or something
like that, do you think the folks in your State would like to try to
match us and reduce the State appeals process so that the death
penalty really is a deterrent?

Mr. Macy. Yes, we have just elected a new attorney general and
that is one of his primary goals that he set forth during the cam-
paign, and since then to have a unitary or consolidated appellate
review on the State level, where you combine both your post-convic-
tion relief with your general appeal, and that way, you don't have
two hearings, you only have one. And we are hoping we will get
that through the Oklahoma Legislature this year.

So we are — we will be moving forward. We have also tried to set
time limits and cause prioritization of death penalty cases so that
they go to the top of list when one of them lands in the Court of
Criminal Appeals.

Mr. Chabot. I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Barr.

Mr. Barr. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank the three panelists from different facets of
law enforcement for being here today and sharing what, obviously,
were very well-thought-out remarks, and I think in probably a fair-
ly short period of time. And I appreciate the thought that they
have devoted to those remarks.

Mr. Mayor, I was particularly impressed with some of the spe-
cific points that you raised in your written remarks, some of them
reflect the adage: That great minds think alike. I had also noticed
some of the same deficiencies in the specific language, such as in-
cluding language on certain types of prevention programs to the ex-
clusion of others. And I think that is a point well taken and, hope-
fully, will be taken care of in a later drafting markup process.

Do you have some specific language, Mr. Mayor, with regard to
the point you raised on page 5 of your written remarks, that the
State is no longer required to consult with local governments as it
develops its application for the use of prison grants, that might
help us provide that flexibility and that direction without getting
back in the same problem that at least I and a number of other
folks have with the prior legislation, that it has too many strings?


Mr. Ashe. That may be one area where you might not disagree
with the prior legislation and it is my understanding it did require
consultation. I am sure there are parts of the prior legislation you
did disagree with but maybe not in toto. But you may want — the
committee may want to revisit that. If it is not there or not ade-
quately there, in your opinion, you can certainly insert language
into the bill that would require State governments to consult with
the appropriate county or city, as the case may be.

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 20 of 51)