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Now, I had some objection voiced to me about the appointment of people to the District Attorney's office, particularly where there has been no previous experience in the criminal field or in prosecution cases. People have voiced objection to me, have felt that whoever was appointed to the District Attorney's Office took it as a prelude or a stepping stone to a Federal Judgeship, and he served this apprenticeship, so to speak, in the District Attorney's office with little or no experience in the prosecution phase of the legal field.
Do you have any comments to make on that suggestion?
Mr. HARSHA. I'm speaking of the District Attorney, the principal appointment.
Mr. FLANNERY. Well, it is a fact of life those appointments are political, and they are not appointed to the top prosecutor's position because of ability or background in criminal law. That's true.
Mr. Harsha. Would you be of the opinion that there should be an experience requirement that should be taken in consideration?
Mr. FLANNERY. Definitely.
Mr. FLANNERY. Definitely. I think those appointments should be on merit, and based on ability and background on criminal law.
Mr. Harsha. After all criminal law is a specialized field, in the field of law, isn't it?
Mr. FLANNERY. Highly specialized, particularly in these days. Mr. HARSHA. All right.
Now, you also recommend increasing the starting salaries in the District for policemen-increasing it over the $6700 figure. Can you give us a recommendation as to what figure your committee has in mind?
Mr. FLANNERY. I think it is fairly accurate to say we were thinking in the neighborhood of $7500.
Mr. HARSHA. I would like to have you elaborate upon the recommendation for the more rapid advancement of police officers. How would you go about this?
Mr. FLANNERY. Well, by more frequent examinations perhaps, and more advancement based on performance in the field than too much reliance on written tests.
Mr. HARSHA. Do you have any other recommendations on that; if you do would you provide them for the committee please.
Mr. FLANNERY. Yes, sir. Mr. HARSHA. I have one other question I believe, that's this problem of getting the public to demonstrate to the police their confidence in the police and its work. I certainly agree with you that a policeman is a person who should be respected or admired for his work rather than being continually belittled and criticized.
But how do we go about the problem of educating the public to realize this and to take this attitude.
Mr. FLANNERY. I would hope many members of the Board of Trade—This Board of Trade Committee would find time perhaps to go to schools and lecture young people on their responsibilities, and we can enlist the energies of outstanding people in the religious field and other areas who could be persuaded by their example and by their teaching to change the thinking of a good many people in this community, possibly.
Mr. HARSHA. Thank you very much. That's all I have.
Mr. STEIGER. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I'm sorry I missed your full testimony, gentlemen. I commend you on your interest of course. I just have a few specific questions.
Mr. Flannery, the question of the posture of the Courts has not been discussed. Recognizing that this is not a matter of legislation. I would like your comments on the effect of police morale with the existing apparent posture, overall posture of the courts. Have you got an attitude ?
Mr. FLANNERY. I'm afraid, sir, I don't understand your question completely. What do you mean by the “posture of the court"?
Mr. STEIGER. Ill state an opinion and you can verify it or not. It is my view from very limited experience with the Courts in the District, that in an attempt to conform to the more recent supreme court decisions there has been a position assumed that over-extends even the intent of the Supreme Court decisions. This is not a limited situation but one in which the arresting officer and the prosecutors' office find themselves frustrated. I wonder if this is a valid view and if you have any suggestions.
Mr. FLANNERY. Yes, I think it is a valid view. I think some of the recent Court decisions affect law enforcement, particularly the decisions which inhibit police in their ability to question those in custody accused of crime. The Mallory case I think had had a very significant effect on law enforcement in this jurisdiction and particularly the way it has been interpreted by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mallory, as originally handed down, did present a problem.
But as later refined by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it has created almost insuperable barriers in certain cases to effective law enforcement. I happened to bring with me a decision, a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals which I think some of you may be familiar with; if you aren't it will demonstrate what I'm saying.
This is a very brief opinion. The statement of facts is very brief. This is the case of Alston vs the United States of America, reported in 121 U.S. Appeals, D.C. 67.
This opinion was written by the Chief Judge of the Circuit court for this jurisdiction, and reading just briefly from the opinion:
It appears that the Appellant was convicted of manslaughter. The principal evidence was the Appellant's confession made at the police station after arrest but prior to a magistrate's hearing.
According to the police testimony Appellant was arrested at 5:15 a.m. on February 22, 1964 and arrived at police headquarters with his wife at 5:30 a.m." That's fifteen minutes later.
Appellant's wife then sat in the homicide squad's office while the Appellant was taken into an adjoining room where the police questioned him for at the most five minutes.
During this questioning Appellant stated he didn't know anything about the offense or words to that effect. Appellant was then permitted to speak briefly with his wife, after which he returned to the police and confessed the crime.
Here is the opinion of the Court:
In my view the question violated Rule 5(a) because the arresting officer failed to take the Appellant before a Committee Magistrate as quickly as possible
And Mallory is cited for the authority for that view. The conviction was reversed. Need I
more? Can't you see what effect things of this nature have on effective law enforcement.
Mr. STEIGER. Thank you. That's an example I wasn't aware of. Have you any concrete suggestions? I think it is most critical.
Mr. FLANNERY. I do too. I think Title I of Mr. Whitener's Bill will ameliorate at least to some degree the effect of decisions of this nature. That's why we support the bill.
Mr. STEIGER. One further question. It is my understanding that a juvenile in the District is 18 years and under.
Mr. FLANNERY. That's correct.
Mr. STEIGER. And that there are three Juvenile Court judges of which one is vacant at the present time?
Mr. FLANNERY. There are three juvenile court judges; there is one vacancy; yes.
Mr. STEIGER, It has been suggested that a major portion of the crime is committed by juveniles. For instance, The State of New York has lowered the juvenile age to 16 and there is pressure to lower it even further.
In your opinion do you think the lowering of the age designation of a juvenile would aid in curtailment of the criminal activities?
Mr. FLANNERY. I really don't think so, Mr. Steiger.
Mr. Adams. I haven't heard all the testimony, I just heard the last part about the testimony on the Mallory Rule.
Do you believe that Title I will pass the D. C. appellate courts if presented to them and accomplish what you want, or will they interpret it as being something that is either unconstitutional or under the Miranda and Escobedo Rules?
Mr. FLANNERY. That would depend on what panel of the United States Court of Appeals hears the case.
Mr. Adams. If we should pass this and it is used as a Standard Operating Procedure for the next five or six months and a number of convictions are obtained and it is decreed to be unconstitutional by the particular panel that you mentioned, whichever one it might be, do you think this would have a dilatorious effect on law enforcement here?
Mr. FLANNERY. No, I don't.
Mr. Adams. You are familiar I am sure with what happened in the Florida area at the time of the Escobedo case. Do you think this would be a wise approach to it?
a Mr. FLANNERY. I think it would be a wise approach. We have to do something, in my considered opinion.
Mr. ADAMS. What do you think of the New York Stop and Frisk Law, as an alternative that they stop and investigate the situation as onposed to the in-custody questioning?
Mr. FLAXXERY. As I understand it I'm not too familiar with the New York Stop and Frisk Law-does that give the police the right to stop one for a short period of time and then question them?
Mr. Adams. Yes, ask a specific set of questions; name, what are you doing, and so on.
Mr. WHITENER. It is more than that. It adds up to a shaking down on the public streets. I would object to that concept.
Mr. Adams. I might indicate, as I understand, Mr. Chairman, the way the New York Police Department and incidentally it might be an excellent thing to have the Chief of New York down to explain this operation—they do not use the frisk portions of it. They haven't had any court problem with it. It actually has worked quite well, the investigating stop procedure.
Mr. WHITENER. It is in the Supreme Court of the United States right now.
Mr. FLANNERY. Yes, sir. Does that law require the police officer have probable cause to believe the person stopped and frisked has committed a felony?
Mr. Adams. This is a test that has been used with it; yes. Although, it is not required under the statute itself. It could be under the one that has been suggested to us. It was testified about last week.
Mr. FLANNERY. If such a--if it wouldn't require probable cause I could see there is a chance the Supreme Court could find that unconstitutional.
Mr. Adams. Do you think there is anything that prevents prearrest questioning of any type ?
Mr. FLANNERY. Pre-arrest? No.
Mr. Adams. Therefore, if you move to the next step, which is questioning prior to arrest and without physically detaining, in custody by formal arrest procedure, this would probably still apply, would it not?
Mr. FLANNERY. I would say, if I understand your question, I would not envision that any court would find that pre-arrest questioning is invalid. Of course Miranda and Mallory only apply to incustody interrogation.
Mr. Adams. That is what's proposed in the Omnibus crime bill is it not; is incustody questioning.
Mr. FLANNERY. Are you referring to Title I?
Mr. Adams. Do you have any objection to any of the provisions of the Bill that has been introduced, the reduction of crime in the streets act, the proposed reduction of crime in the streets act of 1967?
Mr. FLANNERY. That's your bill?
Mr. WHITENER. We want to thank you gentlemen for your presentation. I particularly will express to you my appreciation for your support of the omnibus crime bill which was enacted at the last session of Congress. I am just wondering, though, how many of these organizations that are now affiliated with your Committee To Reduce Crime Now, made their thoughts known to the President before the veto?
Mr. McGEE. Mr. Chairman, I don't have those figures but I can assure you that is one of the prime concerns of this committee. At this time we have only actually been in being, let's say for about 5 or 6 weeks, and we are trying to get, through the news media, through civic and business organizations—we are soliciting every bit of help and writing letters and let our concern be known. This is one of the prime concerns of this committee.
Mr. WHITENER. Mr. McGee, I don't mean to appear critical, but we opened our hearings on crime about 5 or 6 years ago, and we had before us a representative of what was said to be a Citizens Committee to Fight Crime. At that time some of us made the statement to them that we would never be successful in the District of Columbia until such time as there was a different attitude on the part of the public toward the elimination of crime and its causes.
We were told that that was going to be a real strenuous effort on the part of this committee of citizens. Frankly, we have heard very little about it since. We passed a good crime bill, one which you gentlemen now endorse, which was vetoed because, in my judgment, of the urging of certain groups.
I would just express my regret that these business people were not more active in their support of the crime bill when it was at the White House for signature.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, if I may, the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade has rendered support down through the years, and supported last year—and I think this is a basic motivating force behind activating this committee.
There was certainly a certain amount of apathy on the part of the business community, but now with the joint effort of the business community I feel though I cannot apologize for the apathy in the past years, I feel that we have the maximum support of the business community now under the leadership of the Board of Trade.
Mr. WHITENER. Of course you gentlemen know that this proposed Reduction of Crime in the Streets legislation leaves out the very heart of the Omnibus Crime Bill, and those Titles which some of us feel are the most important and effective portions of the legislation.
So when you say you endorse it, Mr. Flannery, you don't mean to say that that is as effective as the bill which this committee reported and which the two houses of congress approved last year.
Mr. FLANNERY. You are correct; we endorsed both bills.
Mr. WHITENER. You don't endorse the "Gun-Title" in the so-called Reduction of Crime in the Streets bill, do you?
Mr. FLANNERY. Yes.
Now, Mr. Doggett, you mentioned something about employment and seeking to find job opportunities for some of these folks who commit crime. I happen to observe on the television last night testimony of the head of the building trade union in which he reported to the Senate Committee that his organization budgeted and provided for schools to train people in the building trades program here in the District of Columbia; that they would pay the $2 an hour for going to school; that they would give them other benefits just for going to school and learn to be proficient in the building trade. Yet, they only got 8 people to show up. Some of them didn't stay to complete training.
Now that's not a very good picture for meeting this problem with the sociological steps, is it, even though it is a laudable effort on the part of the building trade union people.