Criminal Justice - Special features, articles and memos

SPECIAL FEATURES


[Editor's Note: From time to time we come across various special features on the Internet dealing with aspects of the Criminal Justice System that just don't fit in the other categories of our site.  Because we feel that many of these documents are significant and may be of help to our readers, they will be added periodically to this new section of our Web site.]

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Index

"Taking Cash into Custody - A Special Report on Police and Drug Money Seizures" by columnist Karen Dillon for the Kansas City Star, May 2000.

"Less Crime, More Criminals", a special feature in the Week in Review Section of The New York Times, Sunday, March 7, 1999, written by Timothy Egan.

The Atlantic Monthly series of articles about The Prison-Industrial Complex in America

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette series entitled "Win at all Costs: Government Misconduct in the Name of Expedient Justice"

The Chicago Tribune News series of Articles entitled "Trial and Error"

The PBS-Frontline Report entitled "Snitch: How Informants have become a Lynchpin of Prosecutorial Strategy in the Drug War

Time Magazine's Report on Mandatory Minimum Sentences - "A Get Tough Policy That Failed"

"Law Enforcement in a New Century and a Changing World: Improving the Administration of Federal Law Enforcement"

When Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), it authorized the creation of a special committee to report on the impact of that law and the state of Federal criminal law generally. That Report, entitled "Law Enforcement in a New Century and a Changing World: Improving the Administration of Federal Law Enforcement," has now been released - and Congress may have received more than it bargained for.

This 185-page Report is highly critical of the pattern of excessive "Federalization" of State crimes that has taken place in the past 25 years. The Report noted that nearly half of the Federal crimes established since the time of the Civil War have been enacted within the past 25 years; and it sharply criticized Congress for passing dozens of laws in recent years that make Federal crimes of offenses traditionally handled under State and local law. The Report stated: "The record is replete with examples of new expansions of federal jurisdiction," and it noted that Americans have an "innate distrust" of broad police powers entrusted to a national police force.

The Report also called upon Congress to reverse the trend toward a "proliferation of small federal law enforcement agencies." Critics of the growing bureaucracy in Federal law enforcement have often claimed that the Government, alarmed over the dismantling of its military forces, quickly moved to create the largest peacetime militia ever assembled in the world (under the guise of law enforcement) to protect its power base against any possible challenges from an increasingly disarmed, disillusioned and educated populace. The Report gives some credence to such claims.  In addition to the 17,000 State, county and municipal agencies in this country whose employees are authorized to carry guns and make arrests, the Report identified 148 separate federal agencies that currently employ armed police officers or investigators. Combined, those agencies employ nearly 700,000 full-time, sworn, loyal and fully-armed law enforcement officers!

 

The list of Federal agencies which are authorized to arm their employees is quite revealing because many of those agencies have nothing apparent to do with law enforcement. Included on the list are agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Archives and Records Administration, the U.S. Information Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Legal Services Corporation, the Federal Election Commission, the Farm Credit Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, the National Labor Relations Board, the General Accounting Office and even the Peace Corps!

The full text of this Report can be viewed by clicking here.


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