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Council Passes Emergency Crime Bill PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Tuesday, 16 June 2009

City Council passed an Emergency Crime Bill today, with Councilmember Wells voting to support it. The goal of the bill was to put in stronger criminal laws to improve safety in our neighborhoods and reduce crime. There are a lot of details within the legislation, but to try and help residents understand what was passed, Tommy asked me to include the details below:

What’s Included in the Emergency Crime Bill:

-  Creates new, harsher penalties for use of a stolen vehicle to commit a violent crime.
-  Amends the “obstruction of justice” statute to include threats.
-  Expands the law regarding theft and identity theft.
-  Establishes a minimum sentence of 30 months for repeat crime-of-violence felony convictions.
-  Makes the third conviction for prostitution a felony offense.
-  Increases the mandatory minimum for certain felonies in possession of a firearm to three years.
-  Expands classes of people prohibited from having a firearm (e.g. mentally ill, perpetrators of domestic violence, and dishonorably discharged individuals from the armed forces)
-  Adds several gun-related crimes to which there is a rebuttable presumption to detain pretrial.
-  Creates a registration program for gun offenders, with annual registration requirement for two years following either release from incarceration or the end of supervised release.
-  Creates a new crime in place of “constructive possession” to say that knowledge of a gun in the car is sufficient.
-  Establishes a criminal penalty that’s equivalent to the penalty for carrying a pistol without a license.

Councilmember Wells attempted to add a stronger youth curfew for the summer to the legislation – noting that not only has the curfew been shown to reduce the number of crimes committed during the curfew hours, but that it also helps protect young children from also becoming victims of crime. The proposal was to lower the curfew hours to 10 pm on a weeknight and 11 pm on a weekend for youth 15 years of age and younger. Unfortunaely, the measure failed with only Councilmembers Yvette Alexander, Jim Graham and Kwame Brown joining Councilmember Wells in support of the effort.

Earlier in the day, Councilmember Wells introduced one product from his Ward 6 Juvenile Crime Task Force. The legislation attempts to break down the walls of confidentiality that prevents District agencies and service providers from sharing information about at-risk youth. The Task Force recommended reforming the District’s confidentiality laws that end up all too often isolating an at-risk youth and family, rather than helping prevent a violent and criminal act and access for the family to needed services. Councilmembers Vince Gray, Jim Graham, Kwame Brown, Mary Cheh, Muriel Bowser, Yvette Alexander and Michael Brown added their names in support of Councilmember Wells’ bill.


Readers have left 4 comments.
(1) Untitled
2009-06-16 22:58:48
I hope that Tommy will always consider our basic civil liberties when drafting crime legislation. This nation was created by civil libertarians, not policemen.
(2) Untitled
2009-06-17 08:03:14
This is watered down crime bill that is pretty much toothless.
Written by Guest User ()
(3) Untitled
2009-06-17 10:00:01
Watered down? Toothless?

Did you even read what was passed? New criminal penalties, harsher sentences for gun crimes, new tools to detain violent criminals pre-trial... a lot of tough new laws.
Written by Guest User ()
(4) Untitled
2009-06-19 07:43:20
What tough new laws???
Written by Guest User ()
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