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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ENSURE THAT THE LAW IS ADMINISTERED AS RAPIDLY AND EFFICIENTLY AS
POSSIBLE. WE HAVE TRIED TO MAKE THE PROCESS AS SIMPLE AND NON-
BUREAUCRATIC AS POSSIBLE - AND TO MAKE IT TOTALLY NON- POLITICAL.

AS I TRAVEL AROUND THE COUNTRY TO MEET AND TALK WITH LOCAL LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND OTHER OFFICIALS, I HAVE FOUND OVERWHELMING
ENTHUSIASM FOR THE COMMUNITY POLICING PROGRAM TO PUT MORE POLICE
OFFICERS TO WORK OUT IN OUR COMMUNITIES WHERE THEY CAN BE MOST
EFFECTIVE.

THE OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES (C.O.P.S.)
HAS, IK THESE 3 AND A HALF MONTHS, AUTHORIZED FUNDING FOR OVER
1,000 COMMUNITIES TO PUT ALMOST 10,000 ADDITIONAL COPS ON THE
STREETS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY IN URBAN, RURAL AND SUBURBAN AREAS
ALIKE. THIS IS ON TOP OF THE $150 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS THAT
WILL ADD 2,080 COPS THROUGH LAST YEAR'S POLICE HIRING SUPPLEMENT -
THE C.O.P.S. PILOT PROGRAM. LAST MONTH PRESIDENT CLINTON APPOINTED
JOE BRANN, FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE OF HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA, TO BE THE
DIRECTOR OF THE C.O.P.S. OFFICE AND HE IS WORKING ON FINALIZING THE
COPS F.A.S.T. AWARDS THAT WILL WITHIN WEEKS FUND ADDITIONAL
THOUSANDS OF COMMUNITY POLICING OFFICERS FOR AMERICA'S SMALL TOWNS.



109



OVER THE COMING MONTHS THE REMAINDER OF THE $1.3 BILLION AVAILABLE
FOR THE C.O.P.S. PROGRAM IN FY 95 WILL BE AWARDED.



OTHER PROGRAMS ARE ALSO GOING FORWARD. THE STATE CRIMINAL
ALIEN ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SCAAP) HAS AWARDED $41 MILLION DOLLARS TO
HELP OFFSET THE COSTS OF CRIMINAL ALIEN INCARCERATION TO THE SEVEN,
STATES HARDEST HIT BY THIS PROBLEM. STATES ARE IN THE PROCESS OF
APPLYING FOR FUNDS TO IMPROVE STATE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS.
REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED TO ADMINISTER THE VIOLENCE AGAINST
WOMEN, DRUG COURTS AND CORRECTIONAL PROGRAMS.

I FIND EVERYWHERE THAT WHAT PEOPLE WANT IN DEALING WITH CRIME
IS CONCRETE ACTION NOT POLITICAL RHETORIC. THE COMPREHENSIVE
APPROACH ADOPTED BY THE 1994 ACT ALLOWED US TO GET BEYOND THE
IDEOLOGICALLY -BASED AND OFTEN DIVISIVE DEBATES OF PAST CRIME BILLS
AND ATTRACT WIDESPREAD SUPPORT FROM ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM
AND FROM THE MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE MUST NOW GO
FORWARD TO BUILD ON THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT. NOTHING WOULD BE MORE
OFFENSIVE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONALS, STATE AND LOCAL
OFFICIALS AND ORDINARY AMERICANS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY THAN A
REVERSION BACK TO PARTISAN AND UNPRODUCTIVE POLITICAL BICKERING ON
THE CRIME ISSUE. TO BE SURE, THERE IS MUCH ADDITIONAL WORK THAT
NEEDS TO BE DONE. BUT WE SHOULD LOOK AHEAD AND GO FORWARD
TOGETHER .

IN SOME RESPECTS THE "TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT" DOES STRIVE
TO MOVE FORWARD AND BUILD UPON THIS WORK BY DEALING WITH ISSUES NOT



110



ADDRESSED OR NOT FULLY ADDRESSED IN THE 1994 ACT. THESE AREAS
INCLUDE STRENGTHENING FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY PROCEDURES, HABEAS
CORPUS AND EXCLUSIONARY RULE REFORM, INCREASED PENALTIES FOR
FIREARMS OFFENSES, MANDATORY RESTITUTION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME,
STREAMLINED PROCEDURES FOR DEPORTATION OF CRIMINAL ALIENS AND
LIMITING ABUSIVE PRISONER LITIGATION. WE SUPPORT STRENGTHENING THE.'
LAW IN ALL OF THESE AREAS. WE HAVE PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR
VERSIONS OF EACH OF THESE MEASURES AND WE WILL DO SO AGAIN IN A
DETAILED VIEWS LETTER THAT WILL SHORTLY BE SUBMITTED TO THE
SUBCOMMITTEE. IN THESE AREAS WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING TOGETHER TO
IMPROVE AND STRENGTHEN THE 1994 ACT.

BUT WHILE WE SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ADVANCE OUR ATTACK ON CRIME,
WE STRONGLY OPPOSE EFFORTS TO UNDO OR REPEAL THE IMPORTANT GAINS
MADE IN LAST YEAR'S LAW. WHILE WE SUPPORT TAKING STEPS TO ADVANCE
THE CAUSE OF CRIME CONTROL, WE OPPOSE EFFORTS TO TAKE US BACK OR
REVERSE THE PROGRESS THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE. SUCH AN EFFORT TO
REVERSE THESE BIPARTISAN ACHIEVEMENTS THREATENS TO UNDERMINE THE
ONGOING WORK OF FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MAKE
OUR HOMES AND NEIGHBORHOODS SAFER.

H.R. 3 WOULD UNDO A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT PROVISIONS OF THE 1994
LAW WHICH ARE VITAL TO LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THIS NATION SUCH AS
PUTTING 100,000 MORE COPS ON THE STREET AND PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO "aVOID LIVES OF CRIME. WE STRENUOUSLY OPPOSE
THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL THAT WOULD DRAMATICALLY ALTER AND WEAKEN
THE PUBLIC SAFETY PARTNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY POLICING ACT, THE




Ill



rj2 _p fi PROnRA M. AND THE ENACTED PRISON FUNDING PROGRAM, AND THAT
WOULD INDISCRIMINATELY REPEAL MOST OF THE CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS
IN THE 1994 ACT, INCLUDING THE FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENDEAVOR
SCHOOLS PROGRAM. WE BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE TO
REPEAL A PROGRAM TO PUT 100,000 NEW POLICE OFFICERS INTO OUR

'communities - a PROGRAM THAT IS IN PLACE AND ALREADY WORKING AND
WORKING WELL - AND REPLACE IT WITH A PLAN TO PASS OUT $10 BILLION
OF TAXPAYER MONEY IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT GUARANTEE EVEN ONE NEW^
OFFICER ON THE BEAT AND THAT IN FACT WOULD NOT ASSURE ANY SPECIFIC

"or" CONCRETE GAIN IN PUBLIC SAFETY. MOREOVER, WE OPPOSE REQUIRING
FULL FUNDING OF THE PRISONS PROGRAM BEFORE ANY FUNDING FOR MORE
POLICE MAY BE APPROPRIATED.



IT WOULD BE SIMILARLY ILL-ADVISED TO SLASH VIRTUALLY ALL OF
THE BIPARTISAN CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS OF THE 19 94 ACT. THESE
PROGRAMS ACCOUNT FOR LESS THAN 2 5% OF THE FUNDING UNDER THE ACT.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS PROGRAM WILL GET CHILDREN OFF
THE STREETS AND INTO ACTIVITIES THAT WILL HELP THEM SUCCEED IN
SCHOOL AND AS PRODUCTIVE ADULTS. PROGRAMS SIMILAR TO THIS HAVE
ENJOYED SUCCESS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. THESE PROGRAMS ARE STRONGLY
SUPPORTED BY POLICE, PROSECUTORS AND PARENTS OF BOTH PARTIES WHO
REALIZE THAT MORE POLICE AND PRISONS ARE NOT THE SOLE ANSWER TO THE
CRIME PROBLEM FACING THIS COUNTRY. PROGRAMS TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN
AFTER HOURS AND ON WEEKENDS AS SAFE HAVENS, GETTING DRUG OFFENDERS
OFF THE STREETS OR BRINGING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS INTO SCHOOLS
TO TEACH CHILDREN TO STAY AWAY FROM DRUGS ARE IMPORTANT AND NEEDED
COMPLEMENTS TO PUNISHMENT AND PRISONS.






112



WE STRONGLY SUPPORT MEASURES AIMED AT CRACKING DOWN ON
FIREARMS AND VIOLENT OFFENDERS. MANY PROVISIONS IN THE 1994 ACT -
AS WELL AS THE BRADY LAW THAT WAS ENACTED IN 1993 - TARGETED SUCH
OFFENDERS. PROVISIONS SUCH AS FIVE AND TEN- YEAR PRISON TERMS FOR
FIREARMS POSSESSION BY OFFENDERS WITH ONE OR TWO PRIOR CONVICTIONS
FOR VIOLENT FELONIES OR SERIOUS DRUG OFFENSES, SUPPLEMENTING THE
15 -YEAR TERM PROVIDED FOR OFFENDERS WITH THREE OR MORE PRIOR
CONVICTIONS OF THIS TYPE UNDER THE ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL STATUTE,
PROVIDE MEANINGFUL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT. BY CONTRAST, WE BELIEVE
THAT THE PROPOSAL IN H.R. 3 TO FEDERALIZE EVERY CRIME COMMITTED
WITH A FIREARM IN THIS COUNTRY IS A F/OiSE PROMISE THAT WILL DO
LITTLE TO MAKE OUR STREETS SAFER WHILE DOING MUCH TO INCREASE THE
ALREADY HIGH LEVEL OF CYNICISM ABOUT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.,

FINALLY, ALTHOUGH NOT INCLUDED IN H.R. 3, WE REMAIN CONCERNED
ABOUT REPORTS THAT SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE INTENT UPON
REPEALING THE BAN ON SEMI-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS THAT WAS
ENACTED AS PART OF THE VIOLENT CRIME CONTROL ACT LAST YEAR. SUCH
A REPEAL WOULD JEOPARDIZE THE LIVES OF COUNTLESS POLICE OFFICERS
AND CIVILIANS BY PERMITTING THE CONTINUED MANUFACTURE OF THESE
WEAPONS. TO REPEAL THIS COMMON SENSE CRIME FIGHTING LAW WOULD
BREAK A SOLEMN CONTRACT WITH AMERICA'S LAW ENFORCEMENT
PROFESSIONALS - AND I BELIEVE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE AROUND
THE COUNTRY WOULD OVERWHELMINGLY VIEW IT AS A BETRAYAL OF THEIR
TRUST .

IN SUM, THERE "ARE MANY PROVISTONS IN H.R. 3 THAT WOULD BE



113



HELPFUL TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TO THE NATION'S ANTI -CRIME EFFORTS
BUT THERE ARE OTHERS THAT WOULD UNDERMINE AND BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
TO THE WORK OF OUR POLICE AND OUR COMMUNITIES WHO ARE FIGHTING SO
HARD TO FIGHT VIOLENT CRIME. WE SUPPORT THOSE PROPOSALS IN THE
BILL THAT WILL STRENGTHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND WILL WORK WITH THIS
SUBCOMMITTEE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS TO CONTINUE THESE,
BIPARTISAN EFFORTS. BUT WE WILL STRONGLY OPPOSE AI>iy ATTEMPT TO
REVERSE THE PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE TO PUT MORE POLICE ON THE
STREETS, TO PUT MORE VIOLENT OFFENDERS BEHIND PRISON BARS AND TO
ENHANCE OUR CRIME PREVENTION CAPABILITIES.

THANK YOU. I WILL BE HAPPY TO TAKE ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY
HAVE.



114

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Schmidt. We appre-
ciate your coming and spending the time to deliver the statement.

I would like to comment that you did make a comment in your
statement about the fact that you have views that you would like
to present to us later, perhaps in the areas of habeas corpus and
the exclusionary rule reform, and strengthening the death penalty
procedures and so forth, and I would welcome those. We are
pleased that you are viewing them in generally favorable terms.

We are going to mark up this bill next week. If those views could
be down here next week, that would be helpful.

Mr. Schmidt. We had hoped to have it here today, but we didn't
make it. You will have them.

Mr. McCOLLUM. In your opinion, should State and local govern-
ments have maximum flexibility in the use of their fiinds that the
Federal Government provides in Federal grant programs, gen-
erally?

Mr. Schmidt. I don't know that I would want to answer that
question generally. I think you have to look at the particular pro-
gram. I think the question is, what is the purpose of that program,
what is it intended to accomplish, and the structure of the program
to reflect that purpose.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Do you think the grant programs in the 1994
crime bill that you have been discussing today give that kind of
flexibility to the local communities?

Mr. Schmidt. In some areas and not in others. The prison pro-
gram is relatively specific. The COPS Program is relatively specific.
I think in both of those cases there has been a congressional judg-
ment that I think reflects a correct judgment by the American peo-
ple that those are areas where we need to take specific, measurable
action and, indeed, where we can all be collectively held account-
able for those specific actions.

There are some other areas where there is a greater degree of
flexibility.

Mr. McCollum. But in every case, including the prevention
grant programs, there is a narrow band of direction; that is, they
are not able to use it for whatever they think is necessary to fight
crime?

Mr. Schmidt. That is correct.

Mr. McCollum. I am concerned a little bit about the crime pro-
gram that is involving COPS in the sense that many have told me
as I have traveled around the country — and, like you, I have come
in contact with a lot of folks — that they don't think that there is
enough resource there for really fully funding police officers; in
other words, that the $25,000 or so a year for the first couple of
years does not adequately assure them for either equipping that
police officer or being able to keep them aboard beyond the 3 years
that this bill gives Federal money to it.

Is it correct, what we have seen in the studies, that the bill over-
all only provides about a fifth of the cost of each new cop over the
life of its existence, which I guess is 5 or 6 years in total funding?

Mr. Schmidt. I don't know if there is an overall study on it. It
depends in each community on what the total cost of hiring a new
police officer is. But there is no question that this is not a bill
which provides permanent full funding for new police officers. It



115

provides initial funding to enable local communities to increase the
size of their police forces, get those new officers out engaged in
community policing; and then down the road, the local communities
have to pick up the funding of those officers. And on an ongoing
basis under the bill, the local community has to pick up at least
25 percent of the cost.

To the extent that that is a problem, however — and I would add
that there is the ability under the bill to grant waivers in cases of
real hardship — that has certainly not prevented communities all
over this country from applying for these funds and, indeed, under
the initial programs that I was describing, we are not allowing any
waivers basically because of the administrative need to move for-
ward. So those 7,500 communities of 50,000 or less that have ap-
plied under the FAST Program are all applying for funding on ex-
actly those terms where they must provide at least 25 percent dur-
ing the 3-year period and where they have to pick up the cost at
the end of that period.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Have any communities said to you that they
can't afford to apply?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. McCOLLUM. How widespread do you think that is?

Mr. Schmidt. I don't think it is terribly widespread. Given the
volume of response, there is pretty strong evidence that it is not
that widespread. But there is the ability in the statute to grant
waivers, and there have been a few communities which have said
that they are not able to make the local match and therefore can-
not go forward.

So the answer is yes.

Mr. McCoLLUM. And presumably some who can't do that would
never even contact you, so the statistics on it — there is probably no
study available to show that.

Mr. Schmidt. I think that is probably fair enough, although as
I say, there are only about 15,000 eligible jurisdictions in this coun-
try, the way we calculate it. We have 7,500 of those in hand right
at the moment applying for money under the COPS-FAST Pro-
gram. We have had over 1,000 under the other programs, which in-
cludes most of the major jurisdictions in this country.

So while there are certainly unquestionably some communities
that can't make the local match and maybe don't even apply, it
would be hard, I think, to find a police professional in the country
who was not aware of this program.

Mr. McCOLLUM. In my area of central Florida, a number of com-
munities are taking advantage of it, but they have said, even in the
local press, they were planning to hire new police; they had to hire
them, that was a necessity for that community. So obviously for
those who were already in the planning stages to do that, they
budgeted for it; and this is a great thing, to have some sharing. But
for those communities where they hadn't planned to, where we do
need to help them and they don't have the growth and the revenue
growth my Florida area does have, that presents serious problems.

I have had a number — during the time I was out in the commu-
nities, chiefs of police as well as county commissioners and city
commissioners and mayors say, hey, we can't even afford to look at
this at all because it is going to cost us $60,000 on the average to



116

equip this cop, and we are only going to get $25,000 a year and
after that it dies.

I am worried that while you have got a good show for those who
have come forward that the statistics that you have given us today
are not reflective of what is actually out there. And I don't know
that anybody has the statistics, but I can say, from traveling, I
have seen it.

I am going to adhere strictly to the time here, because we do
have to move along; and I recognize Mr. Schumer.

Mr. Schumer. Thank you. Just two quick points.

First, no bill that passed this House dictated the number of peo-
ple in midnight basketball which is only $40 million; is that cor-
rect?

Mr. Schmidt. That is correct. No bill that passed dictates that
any money at all be spent on midnight basketball.

Mr. Schumer. I just think these myths have to be dispelled the
minute they are brought up.

Let me ask you this question: Do you believe that there will be
enough localities applying for all the COPS money that is there,
that there are ample localities that need this?

Mr. Schmidt. Absolutely. The problem is not that there are not
enough people that want the money.

Mr. Schumer. Even with the fact that there is a match, isn't it
also true that if a locality has to put up some of the match, they
are going to be more careful and not just spend the money in a way
that might not be needed? Is that your experience?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes, I think that is true. I think it forces, you
know, a real decision. If it is absolutely free money that is going
to drop from an airplane or something, then obviously everyone
would move forward with it. I think here they have to make a con-
scious decision to make the match.

And the other element is the ability to sustain after the 3-year
period. And I think that one element of the match is, it forces peo-
ple to make a serious decision up front, which makes it more likely
that, at the end of 3 years, they will be able to sustain those addi-
tional police officers.

Mr. Schumer. Right.

Let me ask you this: We have heard a lot of criticism of the fact
of the LPA, the Local Partnership Act in the bill. Is the present
block grant more or less flexible than the LPA that was in the bill,
the block grant that is in H.R. 3, which seems to me to be wide
open?

Mr. Schmidt. The block grant that is before you is about as un-
controlled, unaccountable as anything could be. I mean, it says that
the money can be spent on anything which is deemed to be in the
interest of protecting public safety.

Mr. Schumer. Given your experience, wouldn't you expect that
there is going to be huge amount of waste? Isn't it a logical expec-
tation — or what worries me even more, paying for things that al-
ready exist under this kind of wide-open approach?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, as I said before, I think basically what will
happen is, the money is just lost in terms of anything that you can
hold anybody accountable for and say, here is something that we



117

have accomplished that justified spending this amount of Federal
taxpayers' money. And Pdon't know that it is wasted necessarily.

Mr. SCHUMER. It may not add any new crimefighting ability of
any type?

Mr. Schmidt. I think that is correct.

Mr. SCHUMER. It just amazes me that under the contract where
people were saying, don't waste money, spend less, we have such
a wide-open program, all done in the name of the locality.

Let me also ask you this: Here you are sending out money for
COPS, you are beginning to get prevention going. Does it make any
sense to you, after a program is starting to go and helping the lo-
calities, to just rip it up and start all over again when no one has
leveled any criticism of the program in terms of how it works, sim-
ply because it is too new?

Mr. Schmidt. That is a pretty leading question. The answer is
no.

Mr. SCHUMER. I am trying to help you. I am from the Federal
Government, and I am here to help you.

Mr. Schmidt. We think we are doing a good job, and I think
there has been a positive response to the program.

Mr. Schumer. OK. And just — again, I would just say to you, I
was relieved to see in H.R. 3 there was no ban on assault weapons,
although from what I understand, they are busy debating that on
the other side. One thing I can tell you and the public here is,
make no mistake about it, folks on the other side, with a little help
from a few misguided souls on my side, are going to make an at-
tempt to repeal the assault weapons ban.

I take it the administration would be unalterably opposed and
would veto such a ban if they tried to repeal it.

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. Schumer. One other question on the prisons provision:
Under their bill, under H.R. 3, if somehow the prisons money was
not spent in the way that they specifically require it to be spent,
is your reading of the bill that none of the other money for COPS,
or any for the localities, could be spent at all?

Mr. Schmidt. I am not sure I fully understand how those provi-
sions are intended to work, but certainly if the prison money is not
fully appropriated, then regardless of whether there was some rea-
son for that, such as the fact that it had not been spent in prior
years and, therefore, there wasn't the need for the continuing ap-
propriations at that level, it seems to me to read that nothing else
would be allowed to go forward.

Mr. Schumer. Correct. So that is kind of a greater restriction on
local government than just about anything in the present bill.

Mr. Schmidt. Well, it is really a restriction on the Congress it-
self.

Mr. Schumer. It would be, in effect, a restriction on local govern-
ments.

Mr. Schmidt. The local governments or the States, unless they
spend their prison money, then other programs don't go forward.

Mr. Schumer. Isn't it true that many of the mistakes that were
made in the LEAA in the late 1970's could well be repeated under
this bill, that we haven't learned a thing from the history of LEAA
if we pass this bill?



118

Mr. Schmidt. I think that is one of the things that I have been
told is avoid the mistakes of LEAA and those mistakes seem to in-
volve doing things that are unaccountable, unmeasurable, giving
people money and just saying, spend it any way you want; and the
result of that was horror stories about that, where we ended up
with, I guess, tanks and the like.

Mr. SCHUMER. And this bill does just that. It is wide open.

Mr. Schmidt. I think those provisions of the bill that are before
the committee have that character, yes.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Schiff.

Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Schmidt, I would like to refer you to one particular provision
of the 1994 crime bill, a provision that I supported because the ad-
ministration wanted it. It is called the Youth Handgun Safety Act.
It was originally a separate bill, as I am sure you know, drafted
by former Congressman — soon to be Secretary, if not already —
Glickman.

I would like to know, what has the Department of Justice done
to enforce that act, particularly the provision in the act that makes
it a Federal offense for minors to possess handguns under most cir-
cumstances?

Mr. Schmidt. The Attorney General, actually at the specific di-
rection of the President, asked the U.S. attorney in every district
around the country to get together with local law enforcement and
figure out how that provision should be enforced in that district.
The answer varies from district to district because State laws vary,
and there are some States that have very strong laws that impose
stronger penalties than are available under the Federal statute. So
in those areas, it doesn't make sense to try to substitute Federal
law enforcement. But there may be areas, gaps of some sort or an-
other. And there are other States which don't have similar laws at
State level and where there is more of a role for the Federal pros-
ecutors.

So in every district there is now a plan which has been devel-
oped. The deadline for doing it was the end of last year, and the
Criminal Division of the Justice Department has been reviewing
those. The intent is, in a matter of weeks if not days, to go forward
and present those to the President so he will know that that imple-
mentation effort is now going forward. And then the U.S. attorneys
in each of those districts are beginning to implement those plans.

Mr. Schiff. How many violent criminal teenagers have been
prosecuted up until today under that act by U.S. attorneys?

Mr. Schmidt. Very few. I don't know the exact number, but it
is a small number.

Mr. Schiff. Given the carnage that violent teenagers are doing,
and given the fact that this law has been on the books several
months, very few prosecutions have taken place?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes. You have to ask whether this statute would
have offered something that was not available under the State
laws. In New York, there is no need to start enforcing that Federal
law, because the State laws are tougher than the Federal law.

Illinois just passed new laws strengthening the State penalties,
particularly in cases where there are guns found in a school; again,
the State law is tougher. So I would not take the fact that there



119

are only a handful of prosecutions to indicate that there are any
cases that should have been prosecuted that were not, but I think
you will see more cases now that the U.S. attorneys are going to
move forward with the implementation of these plans.

Mr. SCHIFF. Are these plans in writing? Is it possible for me to
get a copy of those plans?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes, I am sure you could get copies when they are
finalized. They are not secret. Indeed, I think they are available in
the districts. Law enforcement have been involved in putting them
together.

Mr. SCHIFF. I assume by now you have a copy of each plan at
the Department of Justice?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. SCHIFF. Could I get a copy of what is at the Department of
Justice?

Mr. Schmidt. I cannot think of a reason why you shouldn't, as-
suming that they have now been reviewed and finalized. The only
element of concern I have, the Criminal Division was looking at



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 9 of 51)