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Bobby Scott on Crime

Democratic Representative (VA-3)

 


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 100% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.

Scott scores 100% 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.

Scott 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

Require DNA testing for all federal executions.

Scott 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

Increase funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program.

Scott co-sponsored increasing funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program

COPS Improvements Act of 2007 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make grants for public safety and community policing programs (COPS ON THE BEAT or COPS program). Revises grant purposes to provide for:

  1. the hiring or training of law enforcement officers for intelligence, antiterror, and homeland security duties;
  2. the hiring of school resource officers;
  3. school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities, and other problems facing elementary and secondary schools;
  4. innovative programs to reduce and prevent illegal drug (including methamphetamine) manufacturing, distribution, and use; and
  5. enhanced community policing and crime prevention grants that meet emerging law enforcement needs.
    Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to:
  1. assign community prosecutors to handle cases from specific geographic areas and address counterterrorism problems, specific violent crime problems, and localized violent and other crime problems; and
  2. develop new technologies to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in crime prevention.
Source: COPS Improvements Act (S.368/H.R.1700) 07-S368 on Jan 23, 2007

Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.

Scott 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

Abolish the federal death penalty.

Scott co-sponsored Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act

Congressional Summary:

OnTheIssues Notes: This bill affects only the FEDERAL death penalty, not STATE death penalties. The death penalty is currently implemented in 34 states. It was re-legalized by a Supreme Court decision in 1977, for both state and federal executions. Since then, 1,278 people have been executed, but only 3 of those have been federal executions. About 3,250 inmates remain on 'Death Row,' and 61 for federal death row. Texas is by far the national leader in executions--it has executed 477 people as of Jan. 2012, 37% of the national total. (Virginia is a very distant second with 109). In other words, this bill is largely symbolic, unless states followed the federal abolition.

Source: H.R.3051 11-H3051 on Sep 23, 2011

Apply evidence-based & proven prevention for street gangs.

Scott sponsored Youth PROMISE Act

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

Opponent's argument against bill: (Dissenting views on

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

Sponsored providing defense lawyers for all indigent defendants.

Scott co-sponsored House Resolution on court policy

    Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives--
  1. supports the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to counsel; and
  2. supports strategies to improve the criminal justice system to ensure that indigent defendants in all felony cases are ade
    Source: H.RES.196 13-HRes196 on May 3, 2013

    National standards on excessive use of police force.

    Scott co-sponsored H.Res.589

    Congressional Summary: Congress finds the following:

    OnTheIssues Notes:The 'Black Lives Matter' movement seeks to get police to stop treating African-Americans differently than white suspects. The movement comes to the fore whenever a video emerges from a police shooting of black suspects, as has occurred regularly over the past years. Saying 'Black Lives Matter' blames the police for institutionalized racism, and demands corrective action by changing how police behave. The counter-movement uses the term 'Blue Lives Matter,' implying support of police in a dangerous job.
    Source: Select Committee on Excessive Use of Police Force 16-HRes589 on Jan 13, 2016

    First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.

    Scott voted YEA First Step Act

    Congressional Summary:

    • TITLE I--RECIDIVISM REDUCTION: establish a risk and needs assessment system to evaluate the recidivism risk of prisoners; to guide housing assignments; and to reward participation in recidivism reduction programs.
    • TITLE II--BUREAU OF PRISONS SECURE FIREARMS STORAGE: allow federal correctional officers to securely store and carry concealed firearms on BOP premises outside the security perimeter of a prison.
    • TITLE III--RESTRAINTS ON PREGNANT PRISONERS PROHIBITED: limits the use of restraints on federal prisoners who are pregnant or in postpartum recovery.
    • TITLE IV--SENTENCING REFORM: reduces the enhanced mandatory minimum prison terms for certain repeat drug offenses.

    Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.

    Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.

    Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018

    Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018

    Stricter sentencing for hate crimes.

    Scott 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

    Rated 85% by the NAPO, indicating a tough-on-crime stance.

    Scott scores 85% 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.

    Scott 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: Bobby Scott on other issues:
    VA Gubernatorial:
    Amanda Chase
    Bob McDonnell
    Frank Wagner
    Glenn Youngkin
    Jennifer Carroll Foy
    Jennifer McClellan
    Justin Fairfax
    Ken Cuccinelli
    Kirk Cox
    Lee Carter
    Mark Herring
    Pete Snyder
    Ralph Northam
    Robert Sarvis
    Terry McAuliffe
    Tim Kaine
    Tom Perriello
    VA Senatorial:
    Amanda Chase
    Corey Stewart
    Daniel Gade
    Mark Warner
    Scott Taylor
    Tim Kaine
    Open Seats / Turnovers 2022:
    AL-5: Mo Brooks (R) running for AL Senator
    CA-37: Karen Bass (D) running for mayor of Los Angeles
    FL-10: Val Demings (D) running for FL Senator
    FL-13: Charlie Crist (D) running for FL governor
    HI-2: Kai Kahele (D) running for MD governor
    MD-4: Anthony G. Brown (D) running for attorney general of Maryland
    MO-4: Vicky Hartzler (R) running for MO Senator
    MO-7: Billy Long (R) running for MO Senator
    NY-1: Lee Zeldin (R) running for NY governor
    NY-3: Thomas Suozzi (D) running for NY governor
    NC-8: Ted Budd (R) running for NC Senator
    NC-11: Madison Cawthorn (R) Incumbent lost renomination
    OH-13: Tim Ryan (D) running for OH Senator
    OK-2: Markwayne Mullin (R) running for OK Senator
    OR-5: Kurt Schrader (D) Incumbent lost renomination
    PA-17: Conor Lamb (D) running for PA Senator
    SC-7: Tom Rice (R) Incumbent lost renomination
    TX-1: Louie Gohmert (R) running for attorney general of Texas
    VT-0: Peter Welch (D) running for VT 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) vs. Paul Broun (R,lost May 24 primary) 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: Al Olszewski(R) vs. Sam Rankin(Libertarian) 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 against Vicente Gonzalez (D)
    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; SPEL 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: Oct 01, 2022; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org