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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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 7 of 51)
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of trying to roll up the train tracks, participate in the process; and
I am hopeful that he will do that, and I encourage that to happen,
and I encourage myself to work with him.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Ms. Lofgren.

Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. I will also be brief.

One of the major reasons why I am serving on the Judiciary
Committee is to focus on the issue of crime and crime prevention.
After 14 years of serving in a local government where — in Califor-
nia — where we had the lowest crime rate in the State, I have
learned a few things. And one of the things I have learned is that
crime prevention is the most cost-effective measure that we can
take to keep our community safe.

That doesn't mean that offenders should not be held accountable
for their actions. I believe, and citizens believe, that offenders
should have consequences for misbehavior, criminal misbehavior.
But we do know that pouring billions of dollars into prisons and
ignoring the next generation of young people who, without some



92

additional help, will create criminal problems for society in the fu-
ture is not smart or cost effective.

I had an opportunity to talk to the police chief in San Jose, CA,
last Friday, to ask his views on the bill before us; and he told me,
and said I could certainly quote him, that as far as he was con-
cerned, we could take every penny of the money for police out of
the bill if we put all the money into drug treatment and that would
make the safest approach, our citizens would be safer.

We know in California, from the studies we have done, that drug
treatment is, in terms of the long view, the most effective way to
reduce crime; and I would urge that we not neglect areas of preven-
tion that, in the end, will make all of us and our children and the
Nation's children safe.

Finally, I would like to note that there are a variety of studies,
one that I am very familiar with, out of Orange County, that really
are a guidepost for what we need to do identifying young people
who are going to get in trouble with a great degree of certainty and
giving us guidance on how we can prevent that from occurring. If
we don't take those steps to give children structure, supervision, to
have them aspire to be prosperous and effective and competent
adults, then we will have that generation of 5- to 12-year-old kids
who are now living in chaotic situations be the next generation of
monsters that will threaten my children and the children of the
Nation.

So I would argue, let's keep our eye on the ball, which is our
young people, preventing them from getting into trouble, so that 20
years from now we will have a safer community.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Coble.

Mr. Coble. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is good to have you
chairing this committee. I will be brief, and I will put a different
spin on it.

This House Judiciary Committee has a rich tradition with the
law. Members who have been outstanding practitioners of the law
have brought unique expertise to this committee as a matter of tra-
dition. There are areas of expertise, however, in addition to the for-
mal practice of law.

We have one Member, perhaps others, who brings to this com-
mittee his own special brand of expertise — Fred Heineman, who
sits to my right, serving 24 years as a New York cop. I employ the
word "cop," Mr. Chairman, complimentarily, not disparagingly. I
once asked Fred if the word "cop" is offensive. He replied proudly,
yet humbly, 'That is what I am; I am a cop."

Following his 24 years with the New York Police Department,
my capital city in North Carolina tapped Fred to direct the Ra-
leigh, NC, Police Department. He served as Raleigh's distinguished
police chief for 14 years.

So, Mr. Chairman, in addition to a battery of fine lawyers who
serve proudly on this committee and this subcommittee, we now
boast of a fine cop.

I am pleased to welcome my fellow Carolinian, albeit a trans-
planted Yankee from New York, to this Judiciary Committee and
to the Crime Subcommittee; and I thank the chairman.



93

Mr. McCoLLUM. Well, I thank you for that. And I notice we now
have two North Carolinians. One does have a little expertise and
a little different accent, not that the other one does. Thank you.

Ms. Jackson Lee.

Ms. Jackson Lee. Good morning Mr. Chairman, and I thank you
for your generosity, particularly of yesterday's meeting and the co-
operative effort and the spirit which you offered to all of us as we
moved toward a very important agenda.

Let me acknowledge my ranking minority member's comments
and say to you, having come most recently from local government,
I can affirmatively say that the American people from my side of
the aisle, and from west of the Mississippi, want us to go forward.
I would hope that you would allow us to say that this whole issue
of crime fighting is not one side of the aisle versus another.

I come to you as a crime fighter, someone who has worked with
our local law enforcement and victim rights groups, and v/e have
been able to be in tandem on the idea of protecting our commu-
nities. But since we are talking about truth — most recently, yester-
day — I am a truthfiil crime fighter; and I think it is important to
note the Crime Control Act of 1994 focused on truth. It focused on
the fact that we promoted neighborhood-oriented policing, and
rural and urban law enforcement alike said, the more we get into
the neighborhoods, the more we can prevent crime.

I had the misfortune maybe of organizing the first criminal jus-
tice task force in my community when our collective voices were
raised up about parolees being dumped on the city of Houston; and
I have had some legislative experience in passing the first gun
safety and responsibility ordinance, that was a model for other
Texas cities, to ensure that children did not handle guns, supported
by law enforcement and medical professionals alike.

But I do think that we have an obligation to the American people
to go forward for women are crying out, that we must ensure that
there are dollars to be able to ensure that we diminish domestic
violence. It is important, I think, that we raise up the issue of child
molestation and do something about it on the national forefront;
that will require us to go forward working with law enforcement,
child psychologists, medical professionals, local governments about
this attack on our children.

And, oh, yes, we have made great light of midnight basketball.
My 9-year-old can only play in the daylight hours. But I would ven-
ture to say to you that it is not the midnight basketball players,
it is the Boy Scouts who are seeking crime prevention dollars. Most
recently, having chaired the urban scouting program in the city of
Houston, working with some 14,000 inner-city boys, that is what
prevention is all about.

And so I would be certainly saddened that we could not, in a bi-
partisan and truthful manner, pursue crime fighting. And I would
think that we would want to ensure, whether they be rural or
whether they be urban, that law enforcement officers are on the
streets being protected and that we don't roll back the clock on the
100,000 officers.

And let the me say, Mr. Chairman — and again appreciating your
leadership and your bipartisan spirit — that we work collectively to
not do damage to the Constitution of the United States of America.



35-667 96-4



94

For I venture to say that if you would poll individual family mem-
bers, urban or rural, they would all adhere to the Constitution of
this great Nation and ask that we protect it and uphold it.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much for your opening com-
ments and the spirit in which you made them, which I think is
good for our subcommittee, that all of us are off on a good foot in
that regard.

Mr. Heineman.

Mr. Heineman. Thank you all.

Mr. Chairman, we meet here today to discuss, shape and reshape
one of the most important issues facing this country, public safety.
Public safety is the first duty of government. It is why governments
were created in the first place, to provide safety from predators,
both foreign and domestic. And we have failed in our domestic duty
to the people of this country.

There is a fire raging on our streets of America today; that fire
is crime. Our main objective is to put the fire out first and then
deal with crime prevention.

No problem is more real to America than crime. The Justice De-
partment study that was released not too long ago should not sit
well with those who are parents in this room. It said that five out
of six — five out of six — of today's 12-year-olds, your children and
mine, will be victims of a successful, or at least attempted, violent
crime in their lifetime. Currently, fully 60 percent of adult Ameri-
cans have been the victims of at least one crime.

As the only chief of police in this distinguished body, I fervently
hope and believe I bring a fresh perspective. First and foremost,
cops are doing their jobs. In fact, they have never been doing their
jobs better than they are today. They know who the criminals are.
They should; they keep catching the same ones time after time.

Seven percent of criminals commit two-thirds of all violent crime.
It is the criminal justice system that is failing. We need to keep
those convicted criminals in jail.

Right now, crime pays and we are doing the paying. The revolv-
ing door on our prison system must be stopped. We need to play
hard ball with the criminal element. Right now, we are not.

Cops are arresting the same people over and over. Prosecutors
and judges are frustrated by trying the same people again and
again. We don't need more cops on the street as much as we need
less criminals on the street. We need more prisons and a sentenc-
ing system that keeps the violent offenders in jail.

During the 1960's, leniency and belief in rehabilitation caused
rates of incarceration to drop by 17 percent and the violent crime
rate more than doubled. Folks, rehabilitation is now and has al-
ways been a dismal failure.

Second, we must prepare for crime prevention in the future — real
crime prevention, not an aspirin or a handful of band-aids, cer-
tainly not feel-good programs. We must develop a comprehensive
long-term approach and this approach must deal with future gen-
erations from birth through teenage life.

There was a time when the most daring thing that happened in
school was playing hooky. You remember that, and so do I. Now
kids carry guns and sell drugs in school. That is commonplace
today. To the schoolyard of the 1940's and 1950's, breaking a win-



95

dow was a shameful childish prank. Smoking crack now takes its
place in many of those same schoolyards.

Our comprehensive approach to prevention must deal with real
welfare and educational reform. We may not be able to shape our
past failures, but we can certainly accept the challenge of the fu-
ture.

I have heard the cries and seen the blood too often to take my
task lightly. If we here in this room today don't take action and our
colleagues on the floor don't take action, who will? The ball is in
our court. America desperately needs a real crime bill. They need
this crime bill, not more political rhetoric.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Heineman.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Heineman follows:]

Prepared Statement of Hon. Fred Heineman, a Representative in Congress
From the State of North Carolina

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I find it an honor and a privilege to participate as a Congressman in this crime
debate. This has to be the apex of my pubHc service career. I spent over 23 years
in law enforcement in New York City and 15 years as police chief in Raleigh, North
Carolina. Thus, I have been a law enforcement officer for 38 years. Now I find my-
self in the unique position of debating and enacting substantive changes in our
criminal law.

To be elected to this body brings a profound responsibility: we charter the course
of the future — not only in this country, but across the globe.

We meet here today to discuss, shape and reshape one of the most important is-
sues facing this country — Public Safety. Public Safety is the first duty of govern-
ment. It is why governments were created in the first place — to provide safety from
predators both foreign and domestic. And we have failed in the domestic duty to the
people of this country.

We were elected not to pontificate and deliver more speeches, but to practically
solve problems that face real Americans every day. There is a fire raging on our
streets today. That fire is crime. No problem is more real to Americans than crime.
A Justice Department study that was released not too long ago should not sit well
with those that are parents in this room. It said that five out of six — five out of
six — of toda/s twelve year olds — your children and mine — ^will be the victims of a
successfial, or at least attempted, violent crme in their lifetimes. Currently, fuUy 60
percent of adult Americans have been the victims of at least one crime.

As the only Chief of Poice in this distinguished body, I fervently hope and believe
I bring a fresh perspective.

First and foremost,cops are doing their jobs. In fact, they have never been doing
their jobs better. We know who the criminals are — we keep catching them. Seven
percent of criminals commit two thirds of all violent crime. It is the criminal justice
system that is failing. We need to keep those convicted criminals in jail. Right now,
"crime pays" — and we're doing the paying. The revolving door on our prison system
must be stopped.

We need to play hardball with the criminal element. Right now, we are not. Cops
are arresting the same people over and over. Prosecutors and judges are frustrated
by trying the same people again and again. We don't need more cops on the street
as much as we need less criminals on the street. We need more prisons and a sen-
tencing system that keeps the violent offenders in jail. During the 1960's leniency
and belief in rehabilitation caused rates of incarceration to drop by 17 percent — and
the violent crime rate more than doubled. Rehabilitation has always been a dismal
failure.

Second, we must prepare for crime prevention for the future. Real crime preven-
tion. Not an aspirin or a hand full of bandaids — certainly not feel good programs.
We must initiate a comprehensive, long-term approach. This approach must deal
with future generations from birth, through pre-school and throughout teenage life.

There was a time when the most daring thing that happened in school was play-
ing hooky. Now, kids canying guns and selling drugs in school is commonplace. To
the schoolyard of the 40's and 50's, breaking a window was a shameful childish
prank. Smoking crack now takes its place in many of those same schoolyards.



96

Our comprehensive approach to prevention must deal with real welfare and edu-
cational reform. We may not be able to reshape our past failures, but we can cer-
tainly accept the challenge of the future. I have heard the cries and seen the blood
too often to take my task lightly. If we here in this room today don't take action,
and our colleagues on the floor don't take action, who will? The ball is in our court.

America desperately needs a real crime bill. They need this crime bill. Not more
political rhetoric. It has been said that a politician is someone who can borrow $20,
pay you back $10 and declare you're even because you both lost $10. Americans
have gotten the short end of the stick and the clock is ticking. Somewhere out there
right now, cops are putting their lives on the line, and citizens are dying. Time is
running out.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to be heard today and look forward
to working with you and all my colleagues on this subcommittee to insure that Pub-
lic Safety is no longer neglected.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Bryant.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Crime continues to be at a crisis stage in America. Law abiding
citizens throughout this country are forced to alter their daily life-
style, the choices and decisions they have to make, all out of fear
for crime.

For much too long now, the balance between law and order,
criminals' rights, and victims' rights has been out of skew. It has
been in favor of the criminals much too long. I think this bill does
much to remedy that problem. I think the Federal Government
does have an effective role in this, in protecting its citizens.

I know that the people in my district thought it was appropriate
that I come up here and revisit this 1994 crime bill. They want pro-
tection. They want our law enforcement officers helped out. They
want to restore the deterrent effect in crime and its punishment.
And for that reason, I bring this message, and I am proud to do
that. I certainly have received that message, and I am pleased to
advance this bill.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Bryant.

I know that Mr. Watt is here today, not a member of the sub-
committee, and he is certainly welcome, as a member of the full
committee, to ask questions. But I am not ignoring him; I am skip-
ping him for the opening statement for that reason, so that every-
body understands that.

Mr. Chabot.

Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am very, very glad
that we are going to revisit the bureaucratic and budgetary mon-
strosity that became law last year under the mantle of crime legis-
lation.

Last year's bill was a bill that promised far more than it ulti-
mately delivered — a bill that got the Federal Government involved
in deciding how many players and what type there ought to be on
a midnight basketball team, but that did nothing to limit how
many frivolous appeals can be filed to thwart State capital punish-
ment laws; a bill that plays bait-and-switch with our cities, but
wouldn't provide for the admission in court of certain useful evi-
dence gathered by police officers in good faith. It was a crime bill
that my hometown newspapers went as far as to call a crime in it-
self. And now that very flawed bill is a law that ought to undergo
some serious adjustment.

These hearings that you have organized on H.R. 3, Mr. Chair-
man, give us the opportunity to start moving in the right direction.



97

I am going to be particularly interested in what our witnesses, in-
cluding the distinguished attorney general of California, Mr. Lun-
gren, have to say about our current system of seemingly unending
Federal court review of State criminal convictions.

After a vicious criminal is convicted after a fair and impartial
trial, and if he appeals that conviction and loses and appeals again
and loses again, he is then free under current law to tie up the
Federal courts for another 5, 10, or even 15 years while his victims
and the taxpayers continue to suffer. We are paying for convicted
criminals to tie up the courts for decades making a mockery of the
capital punishment statutes that our citizens demand.

I would like to close my remarks, Mr. Chairman, by observing
that measures such as last year's crime bill rightly have made the
public extremely skeptical of the motivations of our Federal Gov-
ernment. The much-ballyhooed provisions supplied, providing for
thousands of new police officers, for example, were found on closer
inspection to carry a huge cost even beyond the tax dollars required
to provide the original grants. An award to my city of Cincinnati,
for example, an award very coincidentally made right before an im-
portant congressional election, now seems to many members of the
Cincinnati City Council to burden the city more than it helps. Once
again, the phrase, "I am from the Federal Government. I am here
to help," has caused people in my district to wisely check their wal-
lets.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for arranging these valuable hear-
ings. And I hope and believe that this year we can make some real
progress and adopt common-sense legislation that actually does
what it advertises.

Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you.

Mr. Barr.

Mr. Barr. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, as a former Federal prosecutor, I, of course, pay
very close attention to any proposed legislation involving our crimi-
nal justice system; and I paid close attention to the debate which
raged over the crime bill last year. As a candidate for this office,
I also last year paid close attention to the debate that raged over
last year's crime bill, and I heard a message loud and clear. And
I heard that message and understand that message, that our police
officers do not want the pervasive paternalism and bureaucracy
that has already begun to accompany last year's crime bill.

But, Mr. Chairman, in an effort to make sure that I have not
misread the public mood in the Seventh District of Georgia, I trav-
eled to the district last Friday and met with law enforcement offi-
cials from all across the district. State officials, and heard that
same message. They want H.R. 3. They want the decisions to be
made by local law enforcement, not by bureaucrats in Washington.
They want habeas corpus reform. They want exclusionary rule re-
form. They don't want midnight basketball and self-esteem classes.
And they gave me the message that this is the bill that will help
them. It will not solve all the problems.

I noted in the Associate Attorney Greneral's statement that he
submitted he speaks of cynicism. There is a great deal of C5micism
out there in this country about our Government's failure to meet



98

its No. 1 responsibility to its citizens and that is to protect lives
and property, but I dare say it is cynicism not borne of what we
are trying to do and will do in H.R. 3, but cynicism borne of dec-
ades of paternalistic decisionmaking by Washington and massive
bureaucracies that take away the decisionmaking from law enforce-
ment officers. And I dare say that the debate and the hearings that
we will have over this bill will make that very clear, and that the
public will understand that what we are trying to do is improve our
criminal justice system,.

Mr. Chairman, I am honored to be a part of that process.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Barr. I notice that
we have been joined by our ranking minority member of the full
committee, Mr. Conyers, who is an ex-officio member of this sub-
committee. I welcome him to make any opening remarks.

John, just as you would want to do, we want to keep these as
brief as possible for the nonsubcommittee members, and I am not
giving that privilege to others who are not in your ranking position
on the committee, in order to be brief.

Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate that
very much. I will be brief.

I am going to continue to do everjd^hing I can as the most senior
member on the House Judiciary Committee to protect the badly
needed money in the new crime bill that was just passed. With all
due respect to the proposal that is on the table, to build more pris-
ons but reduce prevention funding is a surefire way to destabilize
this landmark legislation.

The new majority clearly wants to cut prevention funds from the
crime bill, which by the way was a new idea. We had never taken
a prevention initiative before in a crime bill, and that includes the
Local Partnership Act, which I authored.

And so I urge you to consider not the politics of the matter in-
volved before us — and there are always politics in legislative activi-
ties — ^but if you are going to fight crime, you cannot reduce the
crime prevention budget.

I close with this recollection: Last semester, a coalition of Demo-
crats and Republicans fought to prevent the Local Partnership Act
and other prevention programs from being cut. And they survived
by a 2-to-l vote. I am hoping that that same kind of serious ap-
proach to reducing this major threat in our society continues into
this new Congress, and I thank you very much.

Mr. McCOLLUM. You are quite welcome. Thank you.

As we call our first witness today for our first panel, I would like
to set a few ground rules for what we are going to be doing under
the 5-minute rule. It is a tradition of the Judiciary Committee and
the full committee that when the witnesses are being questioned by
the members of the panel, that each us takes only 5 minutes.

I have a timer here for those of you who are new, or freshmen,
to the Congress and there will be a green light and red light sys-
tem. Your time will be up when the red light comes on. And we
need to abide by that as strictly as possible simply because of the



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 7 of 51)