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NCJ Number: 66653 Find in a Library
Title: TESTIMONY OF HAROLD H GREENE ON JANUARY 31, 1978 CONCERNING HR 7747 (FROM PRETRIAL RELEASE AND DETENTION, P 47-61, 1978 - SEE NCJ-66651)
Author(s): H H GREENE
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MIXED SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION TO VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF H.R. 7747 EMBODYING AMENDMENTS TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BAIL REFORM ACT ARE EXPRESSED IN THE TESTIMONY OF A JUDICIAL OFFICIAL.
Abstract: TESTIFYING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL EFFICIENCY AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, THE CHIEF JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DISCUSSED THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE PRETRIAL DETENTION REQUIREMENTS OF THE BAIL REFORM ACT. CALLING FOR MORE COMPLEX STEPS THAN THOSE PRESCRIBED BY THE BILL TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE WITNESS SUPPORTED INCREASING TO 90 DAYS THE PERIOD DURING WHICH THE TRIALS OF ANY DETAINED DEFENDANTS MUST BE COMMENCED, WHILE STATING OPPOSISION TO GIVING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS DISCRETIONARY POWERS TO DECIDE ON THE PRETRIAL DETENTION OF SUSPECTED OFFENDERS. HE ARGUED THAT REMOVING THE REQUIREMENT THAT PRETRIAL DETENTION BE DECIDED BY A JUDICIAL OFFICIAL WOULD NEUTRALIZE THE CHECKS AND BALANCES OF OUR LEGAL SYSTEM BY GIVING THE POLICE BOTH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND JUDICIAL POWERS. IT WOULD ALSO DISCARD THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE, A CORNERSTONE OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. HOWEVER, THE INITIATION OF PRETRIAL DETENTION PROCEEDINGS SHOULD REMAIN ENTRUSTED TO PROSECUTORS, RATHER THAN TO JUDICIAL OFFICIALS AS PROVIDED BY H.R. 7747. AUTOMATIC REVOCATION OF PAROLE OR PROBATION BECAUSE OF A NEW OFFENSE COMMITTED BY A PROBATIONER OR PAROLEE, REGARDLESS OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE OFFENSE, WAS ALSO QUESTIONED BY THIS WITNESS. THE PROPOSALS TO EXPAND THE CATEGORIES OF CASES SUBJECT TO PRETRIAL DETENTION TO INCLUDE ARMED ROBBERY WERE CRITICIZED BECAUSE THE LAW IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CONSIDERS EVEN AN UNARMED ACCOMPLICE IN AN ARMED ROBBERY AS GUILTY AS THE ACTUAL PERPETRATOR. EXTENDING THE PRETRIAL DETENTION REQUIREMENT TO PERSONS ON BAIL WHO COMMIT AN OFFENSE WOULD RAISE DIFFICULT CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES; A SUSPECT ON BAIL IS SUPPOSED TO BE CONSIDERED INNOCENT OF THE OFFENSE FOR WHICH THE BAIL WAS GRANTED, THEREBY RENDERING THE SUSPECT ONLY AN ALLEGED OFFENDER IN BOTH CRIMES. WHEN PLACING SOMEONE IN PRETRIAL DETENTION, THE PRESENT OVERCROWDING OF D.C. JAILS SHOULD ALSO BE CONSIDERED IN WEIGHING THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE OFFENSE COMMITTED BY THE PROSPECTIVE DETAINEES AGAINST THE REAL POSSIBILITY THAT ANOTHER, MORE DANGEROUS INMATE MAY BE RELEASED TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW ARRIVAL. ALTERNATIVES TO PRETRIAL DETENTION, SUCH AS RESIDENTIAL THIRD-PARTY CUSTODY, WERE SUGGESTED BY THE WITNESS, WHO ALSO CALLED FOR INTENSIFICATION OF SUPERVISION OVER ALL PROBATIONERS AND PAROLEES AS A MORE DESIRABLE ALTERNATIVE TO EITHER MASSIVE PREVENTIVE DETENTION OR CONTINUED CRIMINALITY BY UNSUPERVISED CONVICTED RELEASEES.
Index Term(s): Bail hearing; District of Columbia; Legislation; Pretrial release; Preventive detention
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66653

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