Criminal law

D.C. approves emergency crime bills. Here’s What’s Changing – NBC4 Washington


The D.C. Council approved three emergency crime bills on Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know about what these bills are expected to do.

The council voted 12-1 in favor of the most controversial bill: Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposal to make it easier to hold adults and juveniles accused of violent crimes until trial.

Councilwoman Brooke Pinto, who sponsored the changes, told the council that 30 suspects or victims of murders in the capital last year were out of jail awaiting trial, which is one reason she says judges need more tools to keep people charged with crimes. Violent crimes in prison.

In the last fiscal year in D.C. courts, nearly 2,000 adults were charged with a felony. Among them, 701 were released before the trial, and another 374 were released later. The responsible agency was unable to determine how many of those released had been charged with violent crimes, but stated that almost none of them had been charged with new crimes before their trial.

The emergency crime bills passed by the D.C. Council on Tuesday come at a time when violent crime is up 33% across the region. Investigative journalist Ted Oberg takes a look at how the legislation might affect it.

Councilman Janise Louise George was the sole voter against the bill.

“I was raising concerns that on an emergency basis, I think changing the legal standard is problematic for any legislature, not just ours,” she said. “And when we introduce such a law when it comes to pretrial detention, there are implications that we have to think about that 95% of the people who are incarcerated and awaiting trial are in the black population, and when we have a pretrial basis, it’s because in this country we have Standard – innocent until proven guilty.In order to take away your freedom, you have to reach a high threshold.

Council members unanimously approved legislation giving police the ability to pursue vehicles in limited circumstances.

“The management has a very strict no-chase policy, which is obviously understandable for metropolitan areas and a major city.” Val Barnes, the head of the D.C. auto theft task force, said a few months ago.

She added, “At some point, the perpetrator will be identified, and we can apply for an arrest warrant against them instead of causing greater danger to the citizens involved.” But carjackings are up 94% this year, with nearly 500 so far; Only 107 of them have been resolved. Almost all of them involve weapons.

The board also voted to require the 911 call center to publicly report missed calls, dropped calls, and other call center errors.

Because these bills are emergency legislation, you won’t need to go to Capitol Hill to get congressional approval, but they’ll only be in effect for 90 days. And they needed nine votes to pass the law, not the usual seven.

Bowser issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon expressing support for the bills, stating in part: “The legislation passed by the House today will close gaps in our criminal justice system and, in doing so, increase accountability for violent and criminal behavior and make us a safer city. “

The legislation is expected to go into effect within weeks. By law, the council must refer legislation to the mayor within 10 days. It will enter into force as soon as it is signed. With most council members in agreement with the mayor, the process is expected to be swift.

The council will address permanent and broader legislation when it returns from recess in the fall.


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