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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Let me just say here, the Conference of Mayors thinks this par-
ticular section of this bill is preferable to — I won't call it a compan-
ion bill, but the bill being sponsored by the majority in the Senate,
because it provides grants directly to cities without a passthrough
from the State. And that has always been a contentious issue. But
this legislation lets cities apply it directly. It is not just adminis-
tered through the 50 State capitals. And I think that has the fine
Grovernors, the men and women who serve the legislature — I used
to be one. The fact is, the city of a size of 180,000 is perfectly capa-
ble of dealing and applying for grants and we like that portion of
the bill. I like your thought that it would require the State to con-
sult with the local. Sometimes we hear mandates from the Federal.
There are mandates from State governments, too. And we — that
question and that perspective is a needed one to remind everyone
from time to time that the State government should consult with
cities and counties.

Mr. Barr. Thank you.

One other question that I had, and this addresses a concern that
Mr. Macy had also with regard to perhaps some of the definitions
or lack of definitions in the bill. You had raised a concern in your
remarks, Mr. Mayor, page five of your remarks, finally we are con-
cerned that the drug courts provision is repealed.

Do you not read title I of the bill, the block grant provision, as
giving flexibility to the recipients to use the funds for drug courts
if they so desire? You don't read anything in title I that would pre-
clude that, do you?

Mr. Ashe. We had rather — no, we had not. Again, in the markup
that may be something you want to look at just to make it very
clear that could occur.

Mr. Barr. OK.

Mr. Ashe. And again, obviously some of my testimony is based
upon our staffs interpretation. I am certainly not knocking our
staff. They do a marvelous job.

Mr. Barr. No, they did.

Mr. Ashe. But different people read different things into the
same words and that is why I raise the question. And if I am
wrong, that is fine. And if I am not wrong, then the staff" may
want, and the members of the committee, may want to just look
at this so someone down the street won't make a different interpre-
tation of legislative intent of what you really intended.

Mr. Barr. No. I understand if you have legislation that repeals
something very specific and then you have a later general grant,
we don't want there to be any confusion. Because I certainly would
hope that funds that are made available through title I block
grants could be used for drug courts.


Mr. Macy, the definitional provisions in the various titles of the
bill don't define "law enforcement." And you raised a concern in
your remarks about including prosecutors in that definition.

Mr. Macy. Yes, sir.

Mr. Barr. Would it be, in your opinion, better to just leave the
bill without getting into defining all of these terms or to specifically
include a reference, perhaps through legislative history, that pros-
ecutors are included in the concept of law enforcement recipients
in purposes of this money?

Mr. Macy. I feel it is necessary it be put in the bill so people do
recognize that prosecutors are part of the law enforcement that is
being referred to. And I know prosecutors across the country are
very concerned about that.

Mr. Bare. OK. That is a good point. I am a former Federal pros-
ecutor myself and we sometimes have those same battles at the
Federal level.

I would again like to thank the panel very much for their
thoughtful work here today and the work that they put into pre-
paring these remarks and I yield back the balance of my time, Mr.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Barr.

Ms. Jackson Lee.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for
allowing me to question the very fine panel to acknowledge that
one of the issues. Mayor, that you are interested in, unfunded man-
dates, required my time as well on the floor to raise an issue of
concern that all of us who have lived a life in towns and cities can
certainly express.

I wanted to raise a question with you because we have worked
together collectively in efforts to crime fight and all of my questions
have started with we are all crime fighters. I think that each of us
tremble in local government when we hear that an officer is down,
and so we know that firsthand, if you will.

But let me just pointedly ask you, do you see the significance
and/or the value in crime prevention dollars?

Mr. Ashe. Certainly.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Have you had an opportunity in your commu-
nity to work with crime prevention efforts that go beyond your local
law enforcement?

Mr. Ashe. Yes.

Ms. Jackson Lee. With that in mind, if I was to strike a biparti-
san chord to work to save prevention dollars that would, in fact,
still allow participation from community-based groups, is that
something that the U.S. Conference and you would think the Na-
tional League of Cities would be supportive of?

Mr. Ashe. Well, the mayors, we have our midwinter meeting
next week here in Washington. We will obviously be discussing this
and talking about it at some length.

And you, of course, just came off the board of the National
League of Cities only because you got elected to Congress. And you
and I served together as fellow municipal officials. But what — I
don't know if it is our role to tell you all exactly how to write the
bill. That is what you will do in markup.


The guiding principles that I hope will apply to both members of
parties — and we certainly don't see this as a partisan issue we are
here to fight — I agree with you, I am not aware of anyone here who
supports crime. We are all here to do what we can to eliminate
crime or reduce it, if we can. But the guiding principles ought to
be flexibility, because in Houston, Mayor Lanier and the city coun-
cil may recommend something different than what they would in
El Paso or what they would in Knoxville or Norfolk or wherever
the city may be.

The question was raised earlier about a certain percentage for
our — or at least x percentage must be used for prevention. That is
certainly an option to consider. I only throw out — I am playing a
little bit devil's advocate here — is once you start down that road,
someone else may totally disagree with you and say nothing should
be used for prevention. There are those people who say that no
money should be used for prevention. I don't agree with them, and
I would hope the Congress would never preclude that from occur-
ring. But you need to weigh, as you discuss these options, do you
open up that or a very minuscule amount of money being used.

Again, the city council that you were on in Houston or other city
councils need to have that flexibility because you may want a ma-
jority to go in prevention, but another city or county may want it
to go to sheriffs deputies or to police officers. And you can't write
out of Washington one cookie-cutter size that fits all. That is what
we see as an appealing part of this — what Congressman McCol-
lum's legislation — so I hope in the markup that would be a guiding

Ms. Jackson Lee. I appreciate the reach that you are offering
in terms of the cooperative spirit.

What I would offlBr to say to you as I look at some of the criteria,
if you will, for part of the block grant format, which though my
numbers have not yet been calculated, may in and of itself be a
pullback from 1994, and there was certainly a rising, resounding
sound across the Nation of support for those prevention dollars
coming from local jurisdictions, counties, cities, and towns.

There seems to be a suggestion here that crime prevention pro-
grams organized by police, and as I recall correctly, there was more
flexibility in that the reach could go in the 1994 bill to community-
based groups. There is no doubt that I have enjoyed the coopera-
tion of community-based groups as, if you will, allies in
crimefighting that responds to prevention. So my question to you
would be, how do we partnership those groups into that process if
we have something so limiting?

Mr. Ashe. Well, I would hope the legislation would be drafted in
a way so the funds can be passed through by the city to commu-
nity-based groups. I mean, all crime prevention doesn't have to be
purely through the law enforcement officials. But I would prefer
that if community-based groups are the recipients, it be done
through the recognized municipal government of that area.

Ms. Jackson Lee. You certainly wouldn't want them excluded.

Mr. Ashe. No, I am not asking they be excluded, no, not at all.
I would not recommend they be direct recipients, either.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Well, we understand


Mr. Ashe. Some grants, particularly over time, get into that

Ms. Jackson Lee. That wasn't the point I was making. I appre-
ciate that. The point I was making is we don't want them to be ex-
cluded and we don't want crime prevention to be solely under the
jurisdiction of just a law enforcement, if you will, trend or style.

Mr. Ashe. And I think that falls under the whole umbrella of
flexibility, again, the local decision. In Houston, if they want to use
community-based organizations or in Knoxville, that is great. Wich-
ita, they make a different decision. I think you and I agree on that

Ms. Jackson Lee. I won't argue with the flexibility. I probably
would argue with the fact that — whether block grants offer any less
or whether or not a revisiting of the 1994 bill could give you as
much flexibility.

I do just want to conclude with my question, again in the spirit
of crimefighting, that if we struck a bipartisan chord that we would
not pull back from the dollars that were allotted in 1994, would the
U.S. Conference of Mayors or would local municipalities be able to
be supportive of that?

Mr. Ashe. Obviously, we would prefer the same number of dol-
lars be made available. But I am not ignorant of the current cli-
mate, which is reducing funding, and all I am saying is if funding
is reduced by whatever amount, we would hope if there is a reduc-
tion, it is as small as possible. But that is an issue you have got
to wrestle with as Members of Congress in terms of the overall
Federal budget.

But whatever the dollar amount is — if it is the same amount,
that is great. But I would anticipate realistically it is going to be
somewhat less. You debate how much less. But if it is less, it is
even more important, I think, that the flexibility be there. Because
I have a suspicion less — if it is left with the same program and the
flexibility is not there, the less may come more out of one area than
another, and the area it comes out of may be an area where ICnox-
ville or Houston would want to do more. Again, the need for flexi-
bility is really there. And if there is a reduction in whatever is
available, I think it is even more needed.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you very much. Mayor. My time is out.
And let me say I want you to have more optimism on bipartisan-
ship. We may do that. We may be able to be flexible with the same
amount of money.

Mr. Ashe. Well, mayors by necessity are optimistic.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Good seeing you.

Mr. McCOLLUM. That is a good tone to end this panel's hearing

I want to thank you for coming today. I would like to point out
once again that the change in the bill does provide "including but
not limited to" language when it was introduced. So it is a very,
very broad option in flexibility, which is what Mayor Ashe has been
testifying to today.

Interestingly on the money, the $7 billion that were in the pre-
vention programs passed last year, this bill if preserved wouldn't
touch $2 billion of that, roughly, in the violence against women
portion of it, and by going to $10 billion in an open local block


grant type of program, theoretically, you could get more money
being spent on prevention than under the present bill. So it is an
interesting thing.

Last, before we get up, Sheriff Peed, you had some rap sheets.
If you would like to introduce those into the record, it is permis-
sible and the Chair will allow that, if you would like.

Mr. Peed. I could get sued for a violation of their confidential

Mr. McCOLLUM. You cannot do that, all right. I appreciate that.
I wanted to offer you the opportunity.

Again, I wanted to thank all three of you. You were a very good
panel. Thank you very much for coming.

Mr. Ashe. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Now, at this time I have the next panel I would
like to call up today. Our panel is here. We have Detective Patrick
Boyle. We have Lynne Abraham, the district attorney for Philadel-
phia. And we have Mr. Alvin Bronstein, who is here with us today,
the executive director of the National Prison Project,

If you can come forward, I will introduce each of you.

The first witness in this panel is Detective Patrick Boyle. Detec-
tive Boyle, I will introduce you as we bring you up. He has served
in Philadelphia in the police department for more than 28 years.
During that time, he has seen law enforcement from the vantage
points of foot patrol officer, car patrol officer, investigator, and de-
tective. Detective Boyle has received numerous commendations and
has been recognized as Police Officer of the Year. He has also per-
sonally and tragically experienced the effects of the reduced prison
capacity in Philadelphia.

Ljoine Abraham is the district attorney and has been that for the
city of Philadelphia since 1992. Prior to her election as the DA, she
served as a Philadelphia judge for 15 years and as an assistant dis-
trict attorney for 5 years. She is a board member of the National
District Attorney's Association and continues to teach trial advo-
cacy at her alma mater, Temple Law School.

Our final witness on the panel, Mr. Bronstein, is executive direc-
tor of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties
Union and has been in that capacity since 1972. Mr. Bronstein has
authored numerous articles and books on corrections issues and
has argued prisoners' rights cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.

I want to thank the whole panel for being here. I know Ms. Abra-
ham has to leave shortly, I think at 4:30, to catch a train. We want
to go, because he has a short statement, to Detective Boyle as the
first witness and then to Ms. Abraham. Any time after your testi-
mony is given, Ms. Abraham, you certainly can feel free to leave,
although our questioners here may wish to ask a question or two.
And I am sure Mr. Bronstein would not mind that happening, be-
cause we will give him plenty of time.

Ms. Abraham. I am here for the duration.

Mr. McCOLLUM. At this time, I would like to call on Detective
Boyle to make your statement.



Mr. Boyle. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the com-

First of all, as the chairman said, my name is Patrick Boyle. I
am a detective with the Philadelphia Police Department. I have
served the city of Philadelphia for over 28 years.

At this time, I would take, if you don't mind, an opportunity. I
brought some family members to help cheer me on during these
hearings. My wife, Nancy Boyle, my daughter, Kathleen, and my
partner. Detective Jim Williams with the Philadelphia Police De-

Mr. McCoLLUM. Glad to have you here today.

Mr. Boyle. Let me begin by saying, first, it is an honor and a
privilege to come before this committee and ask to testify on this
issue. I believe it does show the greatness of our country that
someone like me, an ordinary citizen from Philadelphia, a detec-
tive, can come before you and be heard. And I would like to relate
a little, my mother thinks a very humorous, story to begin.

Many years ago when we were children, another family and our
family joined my grandfather in his country home in Lancaster,
PA, in the country. And with all the children playing and carr5dng
on, there was eight of them, four on our side, four on their side.
It did get to be a little hectic and out of control.

Well, my parents being the parents that they were, quickly put
a stop to that on our part. So we wound up sitting while the other
parents had no control over those children and they started by say-
ing, well, that Johnny and Mary and the names I don't remember,
but I am only going to tell you five more times. Naturally, that
didn't do anything. So they said, I am only going to tell you four
more times. And that went on and on. Well, Mr. Chairman, mem-
bers of the committee, I never did remember getting them down to
one. They went back to five and started all over again.

So it may sound humorous and, like I said, my mother thinks it
is extremely funny, even to this day. But that, unfortunately, is the
same mentalitj'' that is being placed upon us in Philadelphia by the
prison cap and the criminals that we have to deal with. We are,
in effect, telling them we are only going to arrest you five more
times or six more times or seven more times. Unfortunately, some-
times they kill and maim and rape and then they are incarcerated
and then they go to jail.

As a career member of the law enforcement community, I will
give you an example firsthand that my partner, Jimmy Williams,
and I had last March. At the end of last March, we had occasion
to arrest a gentleman for burglary. After the investigation contin-
ued, we discovered at the beginning of March he was arrested for
burglary at the same location. In the interim, he had nine out-
standing bench warrants at the beginning of March. When we had
him at the end of March, he had 10. He was finally placed on bail.
I believe it was $2,500.

Now, that was last March. We have not seen him since. He has
since been released and we have no idea where he is. And I can
just relate — remember the story about the five — the children — I am
only going to tell you five more times.


We do this in the criminal justice system, ladies and gentlemen.
Unfortunately, the results can and sometimes are deadly.

Now, I would like to, if I may, I started with the Philadelphia
Police Department in 1966. I have two brothers. My brother Bud,
who is now retired on a disability pension, served the Philadelphia
Police Department for over 10 years. My youngest brother, Michael,
is a lieutenant in the patrol district in Philadelphia.

My brother-in-law, Mr. Robert Smith, in the early 1970's, was
also a Philadelphia police officer. He was shot in the line of duty.
He was shot in the stomach and very nearly lost his own life when
he attempted to arrest two men who were attempting to rob a bar
and its patrons. Fortunately, for Bob, and fortunately for all of us,
he lived.

Now, unfortunately, comes the hard part for me.

My son, our son. Officer Daniel Boyle wanted to father — ^follow,
excuse me, his father's footsteps and his uncle's footsteps in the po-
lice department. He did. He graduated from the police academy,
the Philadelphia Police Academy in June 1990 and he was assigned
midnight to 8 shift in a high crime area in Philadelphia.

Well, being young and aggressive, he loved it. But on February
4, 1991, about 2:40 in the morning, Danny observed a car traveling
the wrong way on a one-way street. This car had been stolen pre-
vious to this and yet — not yet been reported. Danny stopped this
vehicle in north Philadelphia. Before he could stop his car, the op-
erator of the vehicle jumped out and began firing a 9 millimeter
semiautomatic weapon at Danny. One of the 13 or 14 shots went
through the right passenger window and struck him in the right
temple. He and his — even in spite — excuse me. Even in spite of the
wound, being the professional that he was, he was able to give a
description over the radio of his assailant and a direction of flight.
And all the efforts — there was a paramedic on the scene who was
also a police officer, the doctors and nurses at Temple University

Danny died of his wounds on February 6, 1991. He was 21 years
old. He served on the police department for 1 year and 1 day.

The following February 1992, the trial was held for the killer of
Danny. The trial was held by a jury of his peers. This person was
tried, convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to the death
penalty. At the conclusion — and this was the first time I found out
about this — at the conclusion of the trial, the presiding judge, for
the record and in open court, stated this senseless murder should
never have happened. Danny should never have been a victim of
this homicide because the individual who committed this had been
released previously several times because of the prison cap. I at-
tribute Danny's death as a direct result of this prison cap.

Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, as a police officer — and
I understand there is an ex-police officer on the committee — we all
across this Nation accept the risks that go along with the job.
When we pin on the badge, we know it. We accept it. But it is
going too far. We are asking too much when we have to go out and
arrest the same criminals day after day, only to have them re-
leased with no bail, no fear of going to jail. They don't have to come
to court. It is too much to ask.


Ladies and gentlemen, the prison cap does work. It works for the
criminals who know the system better than us in the system who
work in the system. It works for every drug dealer in Philadelphia
because they know if they deal drugs in Philadelphia, nothing is
going to happen. If they go across the border to Montgomery, Ches-
ter, and Bucks County, they are going to go to jail. So we have
them in Philadelphia more than ever. It works to the benefit of
every criminal who can commit any crime they wish without either
fear of bail or jail.

But ladies and gentlemen, what about the rest of us in Philadel-
phia? What about the law-abiding citizens of Philadelphia? They
have been victimized and held hostage by this thing since it started
in 1986 or 1987. Can anyone explain to the families of over 100
murder victims that this prison cap works in Philadelphia? Can
anyone explain to the victims of over 6,000 — or approximately
6,000 victims of robbery, burglary, rape that this thing works? Can
anyone explain to me that — Nancy and Kathleen — why Danny is

Ladies and gentlemen, I beg you, we need help. We need to have
this rectified. We have to restore some sanity in the criminal jus-
tice system in Philadelphia. Please help us to stop this madness so
we can get on with the business of what we do — arresting and pros-
ecuting and properly and fairly punishing those who deserve it.

Thank you very much.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Detective Boyle, I want to thank you for putting
yourself and your family through what I know is a very tough
thing to do and a very great public service today, because I think
the poignant point that you have been able to make is far more
forceful than any of us could have had or received from anyone else
today. So despite the difficulty you have had — and I understand
that — ^your testimony really is appreciated and we very, very much
appreciate it and know how tough this is.

Mr. Boyle. Thank you, sir.

Mr. McCoLLUM. We appreciate that.

Mr. Boyle. Thank you,

[The prepared statement of Mr. Boyle follows:]


Prepared Statement of Patrick Boyle, Detective, Philadelphia Police







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 21 of 51)