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TITLE III-OBSTRUCTION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS The existing law relating to obstruction of justice in the District of Columbia makes no provision with respect to the obstruction of an investigation prior to the institution of criminal court proceedings. Title III would make it unlawful to obstruct, delay, or prevent the communication by any person to an investigator of the District of Columbia government, including officers and members of the Metropolitan Police force, of information relating to a criminal offense, even if proceedings are not pending in court,
TITLE IV-CITATIONS At present the police are required to bring to the precinct for booking, all persons who are arrested and, except where collateral or bond is allowed to take them to a judicial officer. Title IV would authorize members of the Metropolitan Police Department to release a person, either without formally arresting him or after an arrest without a warrant, by issuing him a citation for later appear
The citation could be issued either at the precinct after arrest or on the street without taking the accused into custody. The proposed release procedures would be governed by rules to be issued by the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions and would have judicial sanction. These rules would relate to the offenses for which citations may issue, as well as the circumstances and procedures pertaining to their use. Persons who fail to respond to citations would be subject to prescribed penalties.
To assist the police in implementing the proposed citation authority, the District of Columbia Bail Agency Act would be amended to authorize the agency to furnish them information concerning persons being considered for release on citation.
This proposal will permit policemen to devote a greater portion of their time to the most important tasks of crime prevention and detection, and less to feeding, housing, transporting and attending in court with arrested persons. Also, accused
persons released on citation will no longer suffer the obvious disadvantages flowing from unnecessary incarceration in the time between their arrest and bail hearing.
TITLE V-MATERIAL WITNESSES Present law fails to spell out directions for the police in taking material witnesses into custody. The only statutory provision on the subject is found in section 4-144 of the District of Columbia Code, which speaks only of the provision of suitable accommodations for the detention of witnesses who are unable to furnish security for their appearances in criminal proceedings.
Title V would amend this statute to authorize the police to take a person into custody pursuant to a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the person witnessed the commission of a felony, his testimony will be material at the trial of a person charged with the crime, and he will not be available to testify if not taken into custody. The policeman may act without a warrant on the same grounds, if his action is taken at the scene of the crime. The officer would be required to bring the witness before a judicial officer immediately and the judicial officer is to treat the witness as required by the Bail Reform Act of 1966. That Act established procedures for judicial officers to determine whether persons taken into custody actually witnessed the commission of a felony and whether their testimony will be material. The Bail Reform Act provides for the release of such persons pending trial or detention pending depositions, as well as for penalties for wilful failure to appear after release.
The title also provides compensation for material witnesses equivalent to that for witnesses attending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. TITLE VI-COMMISSION ON REVISION OF THE CRIMINAL LAWS OF THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA The President's Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia strongly urged that the Congress establish and actively support a Commission to review, modernize, and clarify existing provisions of the District's criminal code.
To illustrate the substantial deficiencies in existing criminal statutes in the District of Columbia, the Crime Commission pointed out that the code now in effect dates back to 1901, that many provisions are archaic, and that it often lacks clarity. Many provisions were found to be confusing and inconsistent.
The President, recognizing that the District requires "a coherent and consistent framework for the arrest and punishment of offenders and control of crime", has proposed an eleven-man Commission to do what is necessary. Two of the members would be Senators appointed by the President of the Senate and two would be Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Four members would be appointed by the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, one of whom the Board would designate as Chairman. The chief judges of the United States Court of Appeals, the United States District Court, and the Court of General Sessions would appoint one judge each from among the judges of their respective courts. An Advisory Committee would assist the new Commission in the performance of its duties.
The Commission's functions, generally stated, will be to review case and statutory law and to recommend to the Congress a revised code of criminal law and procedure for the District, including such changes in the penalty structure as will better serve the ends of justice.
The measure provides for the Commission to submit a final report to the Congress and to the Commissioners in three years with at least one interim report within two years.
TITLE VII-NARCOTIC Addict REHABILITATION The 89th Congress in enacting the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act of 1966, declared it to be the policy of the Congress that certain persons charged with or convicted of criminal activity, who are determined to be narcotic drug addicts and likely to be rehabilitated should, in place of prosecution or sentencing, be committed for confinement and treatment designed to effect their return to society as useful members.
Unfortunately, the 1966 enactment is not clear on the question of whether it may be applied in the Court of General Sessions. Title VII of the enclosed pro posal will eliminate this ambiguity, making it clear that the 1966 Act applies to all offenders prosecuted by the United States Attorney, whether in the Court of General Sessions or the District Court.
VIII-INTOXICATED PERSONS Title VIII would amend the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Act to provide that intoxicated persons are subject to arrest only if they conduct themselves in a manner which endangers the safety of other persons or property. Intoxicated persons who do not act in such a manner may be taken into custody by law enforcement officers or public health officials and detained until sober in a facility staffed and equipped to provide appropriate medical services. Records will be maintained concerning each person taken into protective custody but such custody will not be recorded or regarded as an arrest.
This title offers a meaningful alternative to the present law which treats all drunks as criminals and burdens our police and our courts without benefit to the public or the drunks.
TITLE IX-MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Section 901 is designed to facilitate effective supervision of persons conditionally released by the courts. At present there is a substantial void with respect to the supervision of persons released by the courts either in advance of their trials or pending appeal. This section will allow the Commissioners to designate the Department of Corrections to supervise such persons. It will also authorize the District of Columbia Bail Agency to make available to the Commissioners or their representatives investigative reports with respect to persons to be released under their supervision.
SUPERVISED RELEASE OF YOUTH OFFENDERS Section 902 would transfer the authority to provide for the treatment, rehabilitation, and conditional release of Federal youth offenders who are in institutions of the District of Columbia from the United States Bureau of Prisons and the Youth Corrections Division of the United States Board of Parole to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia. The Board of Commissioners under the authority vested in it by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952 (66 Stat.
824) would delegate responsibility for administering the youth correction program to the Director of the Department of Corrections, and responsibility for release or discharge to the District of Columbia Board of Parole, in accordance with the recommendation of the District of Columbia Crime Commission.
Under existing law, an offender who is sentenced under the provisions of the Federal Youth Corrections Act and committed to a District of Columbia institution, is under the supervision of District authorities while in the institution but under the supervision of the Youth Corrections Division of the United States Board of Parole for purposes of conditional release. After release, he is supervised by the United States Probation Service. Section 902 will place such youth offenders under the supervision of the Department of Corrections while committed and after release. Hence, local authorities will have a continuing jurisdiction over such offenders, permitting of the maintenance of a continuity of treatment which should bring about more effective results.
FEDERAL PRISON INDUSTRIES
The Crime Commission reported that the work program in the District is currently directed towards providing inmates with a job inside the institution, rather than preparing him for opportunities which will be available to him on release. To rectify this, the Commission recommended that the District of Columbia contract with Federal Prison Industries for the reorganization and future operation of its industries program.
This government corporation, organized in 1934, provides training and employment oriented to the outside market. Its operations involve, among others, electronic repair; the manufacture of clothing, furniture, textiles, tools and machinery; furniture repair; and printing. Training is also available in business, management, and clerical skills. Various Federal departments and agencies purchase the goods produced. Federal Prison Industries has the technical competence, the financial resources, and the established relationship with industry and government to assist in the development of a model industries system for the District of Columbia. Section 903 would effectuate this recommendation.
PLEADING INSANITY-ESCAPE OF MENTALLY ILL
Section 904 would require defendants in the District of Columbia who intend to rely on insanity as a defense to provide adequate notice of such intent to the court and the prosecution. Usually, the prosecution becomes aware that a defendant intends to rely on the insanity defense when he files a pretrial motion for a psychiatric examination. In some instances, however, there is no advance noticeas in the case of the defendant who is on bail and is examined by his own psychiatrist. When this happens, the prosecution may be unprepared to meet its burden and must seek a continuance in mid-trial. Since it is generally impossible to obtain a continuance of sufficient length to permit adequate psychiatric diagnosis, the prosecution can be left without any psychiatric evidence. If a continuance is granted, further court congestion results and witnesses and others involved in the matter are seriously inconvenienced.
Section 904 also contains a provision which would enable courts in the District of Columbia to order the return of persons who escape from District mental institutions after confinement in connection with the prosecution of criminal charges. At present there is some doubt as to the authority of the Court of General Sessions to order such a return, and there is considerable doubt as to the authority of any court to order a return when the escapee has been acquitted by reason of insanity and no charges against him remain outstanding. Both provisions of this section are in accord with recommendations of the District of Columbia Crime Commission.
WITNESS FEES AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES
Section 905 would amend section 15–714(a) of the District of Columbia Code to increase the present daily witness fee for attendance at criminal cases in the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions and to provide travel allowances for such witnesses. The existing witness fee of 75 cents per day in criminal cases in the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions is too low. The section provides for the payment of fees and travel allowances equivalent to those paid to witnesses who appear before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which is presently four dollars a day.
CONCLUSION There should be no illusions about the significance of enacting these legislative proposals. They are important and necessary. However, as the report of the President's Commission makes clear, and as the President himself detailed in his Message, if the streets and homes in the District of Columbia are to be made more secure there must be a greater commitment of our resources to the improvement of our police, courts, and correctional agencies. The President has restated his view that “public order is the first business of government”. He has urged the Congress to provide the funds and necessary legislation. He has urged the courts, the executive agencies and the administrators to improve their procedures. As he stated, “failure on any front in this war weakens the efforts on all the others. Every course must be pursued. We must not fail.”
Sincerely yours, RAMSEY CLARK,
WALTER N. TOBRINER, President Acting Attorney General. Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia.
Mr. Sisk. I understand that the Attorney General has been invited to appear, but due to a conflict will not be able to be here this morning. It is assumed that he will make an appearance before this committee prior to the closing of the hearings.
In opening the hearing this morning we are fortunate to have with us the District Commissioners, and at this time, if you will, the President of the Board of Commissioners, Mr. Tobriner, along with Mr. Duncan and General Mathe, take your place at the witness table. Also, Mr. Tobriner, I understand that you have with you Mr. Charles T. Duncan, who is Corporation Counsel. Would you like to have him at the table with you? If so, you may do so.
Prior to recognizing Mr. Tobriner, do you, Mr. Harsha, or Mr. Broyhill, have a statement that you would like to make?
Mr. HARSHA. No.
Mr. Sisk. All right. Mr. Tobriner, we will be very happy to hear from you. We will be happy to hear any opening statement which you may desire to make, and also, to hear from the other Commissioners if they desire to be heard. In other words, you can handle this part as such as you see fit, and then we will have questions, of course, afterwards.
STATEMENTS OF HON. WALTER N. TOBRINER, PRESIDENT,
HON. JOHN B. DUNCAN, AND BRIG. GEN. ROBERT E. MATHE, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS; ACCOMPANIED BY CHARLES T. DUNCAN, ESQ., CORPORATION COUNSEL, AND ROBERT F. KNEIPP, ASSISTANT CORPORATION COUNSEL
Mr. TOBRINER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I will address my remarks to the reaction of the Commission to the omnibus crime bill as it has been reintroduced.
As to title I of the proposed omnibus crime bill, it seems to me the Miranda case (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436) in the Supreme Court of the United States; establishes a constitutional right on the admissibility of the confession, a prior warning (1) of the right to remain silent; (2) any statement that the accused makes can be used against him; and (3) that he shall be advised of his rights to the assistance of an attorney, either retained or appointed.
This title would make the assurance as proposed in the omnibus crime bill of these rights.
Rule 5-A would make this possible through a judicial officer with a public hearing.
In my opinion, there is no adequate substitute for the protection of constitutional rights in lieu of a judicial officer proceeding in a public session and with proper reporting. And inadequacy of this statement is required by the Miranda decision, as to the accused, and his reaction thereto, so that it will not be in doubt. There is no contest then between the police and the prisoner as to what was said. Or, such a contest is not likely to ensue.
If we are genuine, as I know we are, in providing these constitutional guarantees to the accused, there is no adequate substitute, in my opinion, for the provision of Rule 5-A which requires that the accused be brought before a judicial officer without unnecessary delay and be advised of his rights.
So, for that reason we feel that title I is inadvisable.
In respect to title II of the proposed omnibus crime bill, I am now aware of the relation, medically, or psychiatrically, of the repeated criminal, or the antisocial conduct in relation to capacity to entertain a criminal intent. I assume, however, that the committee has heard testimony on that point.
Because of my inadequacy of medical or psychiatric knowledge, I cannot at this point testify as to the relevancy as to the antisocial or similar crimes in relation to whether or not the necessary criminal intent is clear.
Now, section 201(b), title II, a mental disease or a defect an affirmative defense. A substantial argument could be made that the burden of proof is on the Government always to establish the necessary elements of a criminal offense; and therefore, the burden should remain on the Government as it is now imposed, to prove the absence of any defect or disease disabling as to criminal intention. Personally, I have no strong feeling about this matter.
The other provisions of title II, in respect to a notice to defend on the basis of insanity, I approve it. This, also, is covered by title IX of the bill to which the chairman refers which has been transmitted to the Congress jointly by the Commissioners and the Attorney General.
On scant analysis, and I confess that I have not had the opportunity to do more than that, having been on the Hill most of last week, I find that the other sections of title II are not objectionable.
Mr. HARSHA. May I interrupt you at this point?
Mr. HARSHA. To make sure that I understood you. You have no objection to all of the sections of title II, with the exception of subsection (b)?
Mr. TOBRINER. I do feel that a substantial argument might be made retaining the burden of proof of the Government, to prove the absence of disabling factors by reason of mental disease or a defect, in respect to the entertainment of a criminal intent. Mr. HARSHA. Thank you.