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Statement of John H F Shattuck and David E Landau Concerning S 1722 and S 1723 (From Reform of the Federal Criminal Laws, P 10163-10196, 1979 See NCJ-73363)

NCJ Number
J H F Shattuck; D E Landau
Date Published
30 pages
Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union critique S. 1722 and S. 1723 legislation progressed for reform of Federal criminal laws, with reference to their impact on civil liberties.
In the area of substantive law, S. 1722 is a dangerous expansion of Federal Criminal law. In section after section, it either creates new law, expands existing law, or erodes various procedural protections for defendants. It invites abuse by law enforcement officials and raises serious questions of due process and notice. The substantive law provisions of S. 1723, on the other hand, are a substantial improvement over S. 1722 and come close to striking a balance between enforcement of the criminal law and limitation on government power as mandated by the Constitution. Both bills have significant flaws in their sentencing provisions. There is no coherent and consistent standard for the disposition of Federal offenders. The system for guiding judicial discretion is inadequate. Neither do the bills emphasize sentencing alternatives to incarceration. Finally, by abolishing parole and good time, the bills close the safety valves of the present system and risk even longer periods of incarceration than under current law. Substantive law provisions and sentencing provisions in the two bills are examined in detail.