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Alcee Hastings on Crime

Democratic Representative (FL-23)

 


Voted YES on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes.

Congressional Summary:Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994: a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person. Provides technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of hate crimes, including financial grant awards.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN CONYERS (D, MI-14):This bill expands existing Federal hate crimes law to groups who are well-known targets for bias-based violence--they are sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. These crimes of violence are directed not just at those who are directly attacked; they are targeting the entire group with the threat of violence.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LAMAR SMITH (R, TX-21): Every year thousands of violent crimes are committed out of hate, but just as many violent crimes, if not more, are motivated by something other than hate--greed, jealousy, desperation or revenge, just to name a few. An individual's motivation for committing a violent crime is usually complex and often speculative. Every violent crime is deplorable, regardless of its motivation. That's why all violent crimes should be vigorously prosecuted. Unfortunately, this bill undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system--equal justice for all. Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. Justice will now depend on the race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other protected status of the victim. It will allow different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This is the real injustice.

Reference: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act; Bill HR.1913 ; vote number 2009-H223 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted YES on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society.

H.R.1593: Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention or the Second Chance Act (Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass). To reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and to improve reentry planning and implementation.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. CONYERS: Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the Federal and State prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures & temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain & hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. GOHMERT: The programs that are sought to be renewed are ones we don't have information on how successful they were. I can tell you from my days as a judge, there was some anecdotal evidence that it looked like faith-based programs did a better job of dramatically reducing recidivism. In addition:

Reference: Second Chance Act; Bill HR1593 ; vote number 2007-1083 on Nov 13, 2007

Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.

Vote on an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690 ; vote number 2000-317 on Jun 22, 2000

Voted NO on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime.

Vote to pass a bill to appropriate $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases.
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501 ; vote number 1999-233 on Jun 17, 1999

Voted YES on maintaining right of habeas corpus in Death Penalty Appeals.

Vote on an amendment to delete provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts ['Habeas Corpus'].
Bill HR 2703 ; vote number 1996-64 on Mar 14, 1996

Voted NO on making federal death penalty appeals harder.

Vote on a bill to make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts.
Bill HR 729 ; vote number 1995-109 on Feb 8, 1995

Voted YES on replacing death penalty with life imprisonment.

Amendment to replace death penalty crimes in the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill with life imprisonment.
Bill HR 4092 ; vote number 1994-107 on Apr 14, 1994

Rated 90% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.

Hastings scores 90% by CURE on rehabilitation issues

CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are

  1. to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
  2. for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
The ratings indicate the legislatorís percentage score on CUREís preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000

Moratorium on death penalty; more DNA testing.

Hastings co-sponsored a bill limiting capital punishment:

H.R. 1038, S.233:

To place a moratorium on executions by the Federal Government and urge the States to do the same, while a National Commission on the Death Penalty reviews the fairness of the imposition of the death penalty .
S.486 & H.R.912:
To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed [by examining DNA evidence more thoroughly].
Source: H.R.912 01-HR1038 on Mar 7, 2001

More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes.

Hastings co-sponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.

Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.

  1. Award grants to assist State and local law enforcement officials with extraordinary expenses for interstate hate crimes.

  2. Award grants to State and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

  3. Prohibit specified offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

  4. Increase criminal sentencing for adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes.

  5. Collect and publish data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1343 on Apr 3, 2001

Require DNA testing for all federal executions.

Hastings co-sponsored the Innocence Protection Act:

Title: To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed.

    Summary: Authorizes a person convicted of a Federal crime to apply for DNA testing to support a claim that the person did not commit:

  1. the Federal crime of which the person was convicted; or

  2. any other offense that a sentencing authority may have relied upon when it sentenced the person with respect to such crime.

  3. Prohibits a State from denying an application for DNA testing made by a prisoner in State custody who is under sentence of death if specified conditions apply.

  4. Provides grants to prosecutors for DNA testing programs.

  5. Establishes the National Commission on Capital Representation.

  6. Withholds funds from States not complying with standards for capital representation.

  7. Provides for capital defense incentive grants and resource grants.

  8. Increases compensation in Federal cases, and sets forth provisions regarding compensation in State cases, where an individual is unjustly sentenced to death.

  9. Adds a certification requirement in Federal death penalty prosecutions.

  10. Expresses the sense of Congress regarding the execution of juvenile offenders and the mentally retarded.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR912 on Mar 7, 2001

Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.

Hastings co-sponsored reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance

Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.
Source: Second Chance Act (S.1060/H.R.1593) 08-S1060 on Mar 29, 2007

Harsher sentencing for "pill mill" operators.

Hastings signed Pill Mill Crackdown Act

    The Pill Mill Crackdown Act of 2011: Amends the Controlled Substances Act to:
  1. double the term of imprisonment and triple the fine for the prohibited distribution of a schedule II or schedule III controlled substance by the operator of a pill mill,
  2. increase the penalties for such operator distribution of a controlled substance to a person under age 21 from twice to thrice the maximum punishment or term of supervised release authorized, and
  3. exclude such operator distribution from the applicability of provisions authorizing an alternative fine of not more than twice the gross profits or other proceeds derived by a defendant from a drug offense.
      Expresses the sense of Congress that such prohibited operator distribution is a violation for which certain property is subject to forfeiture.
      • Requires the proceeds from disposition of such property to be used for controlled substance monitoring programs in the states and for block grants to states for community mental health services and for prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
      • Changes the classification of specified quantities of dihydrocodeinone from a schedule III to a schedule II controlled substance.
      Source: H.R.1065 11-HR1065 on Mar 14, 2011

      Sponsored evidence-based & proven prevention for street gangs.

      Hastings co-sponsored Youth PROMISE Act

      Congressional Summary:Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act or the Youth Promise Act:

      • Establish a PROMISE Advisory Panel to assess and develop standards and evidence-based practices to prevent juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity.
      • Collect data to assess the needs and existing resources for juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity prevention and intervention.
      • Implement PROMISE plans, developed by local PROMISE Coordinating Councils (PCCs), for coordinating and supporting the delivery of juvenile delinquency and gang prevention and intervention programs in local communities.
      • Establishes a National Research Center for Proven Juvenile Justice Practices to provide PCCs and the public with research and other information about evidence-based practices related to juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang prevention or intervention.
      • Awards grants to institutions of higher education to serve as regional research partners with PCCs that are located in the same geographic region as the educational institution.

      Opponent's argument against bill: (Dissenting views on

      Source: H.R.1318 13-H1318 on Mar 21, 2013

      Stricter sentencing for hate crimes.

      Hastings co-sponsored stricter sentencing for hate crimes

      Congressional Summary:

      • To make sentencing guidelines for Federal criminal cases that provide sentencing enhancements for hate crimes.
      • Amends the Federal judicial code to require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to:
      • promulgate or amend existing guidelines to provide for sentencing enhancements of not less than three offense levels for offenses that the finder of fact at trial determines beyond a reasonable doubt are hate crimes; and
      • assure reasonable consistency with other guidelines, avoid duplicative punishments for substantially the same offense, and take into account any mitigating circumstances that might justify exceptions.

      Proponents' Argument in Favor:Rep. SENSENBRENNER. This bill does not create a new Federal crime. Nothing that is presently not criminal now would be made criminal as a result of enactment. What enactment of H.R. 1152 will do is provide for enhanced criminal penalties for certain specifically designated hate crimes. As used in the bill, the term hate crime is defined as a Federal crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of the person. Hate crimes are more serious offenses and often result in a greater level of injury to the victim and to society.

      Source: Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act (H.R.1152) 1993-H1152 on Mar 1, 1993

      Life imprisonment for repeat sexual predators.

      Hastings co-sponsored restricting parole for repeat sexual predators

        Expresses the sense of the Congress that States should:
      • more seriously consider the relatively high recidivism rate of sexual offenders when deciding whether to plea bargain with first-time sexual offenders and whether to grant parole to sexual offenders; and
      • review their treatment and parole supervision programs for sexual offenders to assure that such programs are fulfilling their goals.
      • Whoever violates provisions regarding aggravated sexual abuse after previously having been convicted of another State or Federal sexual abuse offense shall be imprisoned for life.
      • Establish guidelines for State programs requiring any person who is convicted of a sex offense to register and keep up to date a current address with a designated State law enforcement agency for ten years after being released from prison
      • Maintain on-line availability of information obtained under this Act
      • Carry out a study of persistent sexual predators and to report to the Congress and the President.
      Source: Protection from Sexual Predators Act (H.R.3990) 1994-H3990 on Mar 9, 1994

      Sponsored bill to abolish federal death penalty.

      Hastings co-sponsored Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act

      Legislative summary of H.R.4052: This bill prohibits the imposition of a death penalty sentence for a violation of federal law. A person sentenced to death before enactment of this bill must be resentenced.

      Press release and letter on Connolly.House.gov: Capital punishment is unjust, racist and defective. The United States stands alone among its peers in executing its own citizens, a barbaric punishment that denies the dignity and humanity of all people and is disproportionately applied to people who are Black, Latinx, and poor. In their letter, the lawmakers called on President-Elect Biden to affirm his commitment to eliminating the death penalty--as laid out in his criminal justice reform plan--by ending it through executive action on Day 1 of his administration. The lawmakers also made clear that in the 117th Congress, they will continue to work to advance H.R. 4052, legislation to permanently abolish the death penalty.

      ProPublica summary by Isaac Arnsdorf 12/23/20: Throughout the campaign, Trump highlighted executions as a contrast to Joe Biden's opposition to the death penalty, reinforcing Trump's "law and order" message. The Justice Department has killed 10 people since July, with three more executions scheduled before Biden's inauguration. "Death penalty all the way," Trump said at a February 2016 campaign event. "I've always supported the death penalty. I don't even understand people that don't."

      Until this year, the Justice Department hadn't executed anyone since 2003. A drug that most states and the federal government used in lethal injections, a sedative called sodium pentothal, became unavailable because the sole American manufacturer stopped making it. Shortly after Trump's presidency began, his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, [pushed] to resolve these issues so that the federal Bureau of Prisons could resume executions.

      Source: H.R.4052/S.2390 20-HR4052 on Jul 25, 2019

      Rated 46% by the NAPO, indicating a police-the-police stance.

      Hastings scores 46% by the NAPO on crime & police issues

      Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.

      "Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nationís capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPOís accomplishments:

      • Enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act
      • Enactment of the National AMBER Alert Act
      • Enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
      • Enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
      • Enactment of the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act (Right to Carry Legislation)

      VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:

      • 0%-50%: soft on crime and police issues;
      • 50%-75%: mixed record on crime and police issues;
      • 75%-100%: tough on crime and police issues.
      Source: NAPO ratings on Congress and politicians 2014_NAPO on Dec 31, 2014

      Sponsored stricter rules for police accountability.

      Hastings co-sponsored George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

      This bill addresses policing practices and law enforcement accountability:

      • lowers the criminal intent standard--from willful to knowing or reckless--to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
      • limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer, and
      • grants administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.

      Rep. Elise Stefanik in OPPOSITION (3/1/21): I voted against H.R. 1280--this bill poses a grave danger to law-abiding police officers, as it would eliminate qualified immunity protections, lower the standard for federal civil rights lawsuits, and limit access to necessary equipment during emergencies and natural disasters. Democrats rushed this bill to the House Floor without accepting any input from Republicans, expert testimony, or significant data. I am proud to sponsor the JUSTICE Act with Senator Tim Scott, to provide necessary reforms to end police brutality while protecting our law-abiding officers.

      OnTheIssues explanation of "qualified immunity": "Qualified immunity" means that police officers (and other government officials) cannot be sued for actions on duty, unless knowingly taking unreasonable actions. This bill would limit "qualified immunity," which means the family in cases like George Floyd's could sue the police for civil damages.

      Biden Administration in SUPPORT (3/1/21): We must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct--and systemic racism--in police departments.

      Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-212-0 on March 3, 2021, rollcall #60; received in Senate on March 9; no further Senate action during 2021.

      Source: H.R.1280 21-HR1280 on Feb 24, 2021

      2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Crime: Alcee Hastings on other issues:
      FL Gubernatorial:
      Adam Putnam
      Alexander Snitker
      Andrew Gillum
      Annette Taddeo
      Bill Nelson
      Brian Moore
      Charlie Crist
      Gwen Graham
      Nikki Fried
      Philip Levine
      Rick Scott
      Ron DeSantis
      Wayne Messam
      FL Senatorial:
      Bill Nelson
      Carlos Lopez-Cantera
      Charlie Crist
      David Jolly
      Edward Janowski
      Marco Rubio
      Pam Keith
      Patrick Murphy
      Rick Scott
      Ron DeSantis
      Open Seats / Turnovers:
      AL-5: Mo Brooks (R) Incumbent retiring to run for AL U.S. Senator
      CA-37: Karen Bass (D) to retiring to run for mayor of Los Angeles
      FL-10: Val Demings (D) retiring to run for FL U.S. Senator
      FL-13: Charlie Crist (D) Incumbent retiring to run for governor of Florida
      HI-2: Kai Kahele (D) Incumbent retiring to run for governor of Hawaii
      MD-4: Anthony G. Brown (D) Incumbent retiring to run for attorney general of Maryland
      MO-4: Vicky Hartzler (R) Incumbent retiring to run for MO U.S. Senator
      MO-7: Billy Long (R) Incumbent retiring to run for MO U.S. Senator
      NY-1: Lee Zeldin (R) Incumbent retiring to run for governor of New York
      NY-3: Thomas Suozzi (D) retiring to run for governor of New York
      NC-8: Ted Budd (R) Incumbent retiring to run for NC U.S. Senator
      NC-11: Madison Cawthorn (R) Incumbent lost renomination
      OH-13: Tim Ryan (D) retiring to run for OH U.S. Senator
      OK-2: Markwayne Mullin (R) Incumbent retiring to run for OK U.S. Senator
      OR-5: Kurt Schrader (D) Incumbent lost renomination
      PA-17: Conor Lamb (D) Incumbent retiring to run for PA U.S. Senator
      SC-7: Tom Rice (R) Incumbent lost renomination
      TX-1: Louie Gohmert (R) Incumbent retiring to run for attorney general of Texas
      VT-0: Peter Welch (D) retiring to run for VT U.S. Senator

      Special Elections 2021:
      LA-2: Troy Carter (R, April 2021)
      LA-5: Julia Letlow (R, March 2021)
      NM-1: Melanie Stansbury (D, June 2021)
      OH-11: Shontel Brown (D, Nov. 2021)
      OH-15: Mike Carey (R, Nov. 2021)
      TX-6: Jake Ellzey (R, July 2021)
      Hot Races 2022:
      CA-27: Christy Smith (D) vs. Mike Garcia (R)
      FL 27: Annette Taddeo (D) vs. Maria Elvira Salazar (R)
      GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) lost redistricting race to Lucy McBath (D)
      GA-10: Vernon Jones (R) to replace Jody Hice (R) running for Secretary of GA
      ME-2: Bruce Poliquin (R) rematch against Jared Golden (D)
      MI-10: John James (R) - running for newly redistricted seat
      MI-11:
      Andy Levin (D) redistricted to face Haley Stevens (D)
      MT 1: Ryan Zinke (R) - running for newly created seat
      MT-2: Sam Rankin (Libertarian)[137] vs Matt Rosendale (R)
      NJ-7: Thomas Kean Jr. (R) challenging Tom Malinowski (R)
      NY-10: Bill de Blasio (D) challenging Mondaire Jones (D)
      NY-11: Max Rose (D) challenging Nicole Malliotakis (R)
      NY 12: Carolyn Maloney (D) redistricted to face Jerry Nadler (D)
      RI-2: Seth Magaziner (D) vs. Allan Fung (R)
      RI-1: Allen Waters (R) vs. David Cicilline (D)
      TX-34: Mayra Flores (R) - Elected SPEL June 2022; general election Nov. 2022
      WA-4: Brad Klippert (R) challenging Dan Newhouse (R)
      WV-2: David McKinley lost a redistricting race to fellow incumbent Alex Mooney

      Special Elections 2022:
      AK-0: Sarah Palin (R) vs. Al Gross (Independent)
      CA-22: Connie Conway (R) replaced Devin Nunes on June 7.
      FL-20: Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D) replaced Alcee Hastings on Jan. 11.
      MN-1: vacancy left by Jim Hagedorn (R), deceased Feb. 17; on August 9.
      NE-1: Jeffrey Fortenberry (R) Resigned on March 31, after being convicted; Mike Flood (R) in SPEL on June 28.
      NY-19: Marc Molinaro (R) running for SPEL Aug. 23 for seat vacated by Antonio Delgado (D), now Lt.Gov.
      TX-34: Mayra Flores (R) SPEL June 14 for seat vacated by Filemon Vela Jr. (D)
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      Page last updated: Jun 17, 2022; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org