Summary: S.1970 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (11/21/1989)

Title I: Death Penalty - Federal Death Penalty Act of 1989 - Amends the Federal criminal code to establish criteria for the imposition of the death penalty for Federal crimes.

Requires the Government, for any offense punishable by death, to serve notice upon the defendant a reasonable time before trial or acceptance of a plea, that it intends to seek the death penalty and the aggravating factors upon which it will rely.

Requires a separate sentencing hearing before a jury, or the court upon motion by the defendant, when the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty to an offense punishable by death.

Allows the defendant and the Government to present any information relevant to sentencing, without regard to the rules of evidence, but permits information to be excluded where its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading of the jury.

Specifies mitigating factors which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the information and aggravating factors which the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Includes as threshold aggravating factors for homicide that the defendant: (1) intentionally killed the victim; (2) intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury which resulted in the death of the victim; (3) intentionally participated in an act, contemplating that the life of a person would be taken, and the victim died as a direct result of the act; (4) attempted to kill the President of the United States; or (5) intentionally engaged in an act constituting reckless disregard for human life, knowing that the act created a grave risk of death to someone other than the participants, and the victim died as a direct result of the act.

Sets forth special aggravating factors with respect to the crimes of treason, espionage, homicide, and attempted murder of the President.

States that no person under the age of 18 may be sentenced to death. Prohibits the execution of mentally retarded persons.

Directs the court, or the jury by unanimous vote, to impose the death penalty upon a finding that such sentence is justified based on consideration of both the aggravating and mitigating factors.

Requires the court to instruct the jury: (1) not to consider the race, color, national origin, creed, or sex of the defendant or any victim in its consideration of the sentence; and (2) that it is not required to return a death sentence.

Establishes procedures for appeal from a death sentence. Requires the Court of Appeals, upon considering the record and the information and procedures of the sentencing hearing, to affirm the decision if: (1) the sentence was not imposed under influence of passion, prejudice, or arbitrariness; and (2) the information supports the finding of aggravating factors. Requires the court to provide a written explanation of its determination.

Prohibits requiring any employee of any State department of corrections, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or any provider of services under contract to participate in any execution if contrary to his or her moral or religious convictions.

Limits the circumstances under which the offense of delivering defense information to aid foreign governments is punishable by death.

Provides for the imposition of the death penalty for: (1) murders committed by prisoners in Federal correctional institutions; (2) kidnappings which result in the death of any person; (3) attempting to kill the President of the United States (if such attempt results in bodily injury or comes dangerously close to causing the President's death); (4) "murder for hire"; (5) murder in the aid of a racketeering activity; (6) engaging in a criminal enterprise activity which results in death; and (7) other specified offenses.

Racial Justice Act of 1989 - Amends the Federal judicial code to prohibit the imposition or execution of sentences of death under color of State or Federal law in a racially discriminatory pattern. Specifies that to establish such a pattern: (1) ordinary methods of statistical proof shall suffice; and (2) it shall not be necessary to show discriminatory intent on the part of any individual or institution.

Specifies that: (1) to establish a prima facie showing of a racially discriminatory pattern it shall suffice that death sentences are being imposed or executed upon persons of one race with a frequency disproportionate to their representation among the number of persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of death-eligible crimes, or as punishment for crimes against persons of one race with a frequency that is disproportionate to their representation among persons against whom death-eligible crimes have been committed; and (2) to rebut such a showing, a State or Federal entity must establish by clear and convincing evidence that identifiable and pertinent nonracial factors persuasively explain the observable racial disparities comprising the pattern.

Requires any State or Federal entity that provides for the death penalty to designate a central agency to collect and maintain pertinent data on the charging, disposition, and sentencing patterns for all cases of death-eligible crimes. Directs each such entity to: (1) monitor compliance by local officials and agencies; (2) devise and distribute to every local official or agency responsible for the investigation or prosecution of death-eligible crimes a standard form to collect pertinent data; (3) maintain, compile, and index such forms and data and make them available to the public; (4) maintain a centralized, alphabetically indexed file of all police and investigative reports transmitted to it by local officials or agencies in every case of death-eligible crime; and (5) allow access to its file of police and investigative reports to the counsel of record for persons charged with death-eligible crimes.

Requires each local official responsible for the investigation or prosecution of death-eligible crimes to: (1) complete such form on every case of death-eligible crime; (2) transmit such form to the central agency within three months after disposition of each such case; and (3) transmit to such agency a copy of all police and investigative reports made in connection with each case of death-eligible crime.

Requires such data to include, at a minimum: (1) pertinent demographic information on all persons charged with the crime and all victims (including race, sex, age, and national origin); (2) information on the principal features of the crime; (3) information on the aggravating and mitigating factors of the crime, including the background and character of every person charged with the crime; and (4) a narrative summary of the crime.

Requires the court to appoint counsel for those financially unable to retain counsel and to furnish investigative, expert, or other services as necessary for the development of the claim of any such person, subject to certain limitations.

Specifies that no determination on the merits of a factual issue made by a State court pertinent to any claim under this Act shall be presumed to be correct unless: (1) the State is in compliance with the provisions of this Act; (2) the determination was made in a proceeding in a State court in which the person asserting the claim was afforded rights to counsel and to the furnishing of investigative, expert, and other such services which were substantially equivalent to those provided in this Act; and (3) the determination is one which is otherwise entitled to be presumed correct under the criteria specified under Federal habeas corpus provisions.

Title II: Habeas Corpus Reform - Habeas Corpus Reform Act of 1989 - Amends the Federal judicial code to set forth special habeas corpus procedures in capital cases. Applies such procedures to Federal habeas corpus cases brought by prisoners in State custody who are subject to a capital sentence. Makes the applicability to such procedures contingent upon a State establishing a mechanism for the appointment, compensation, and payment of reasonable fees and litigation expenses of competent counsel consistent with this Act. Sets forth procedures for the appointment of counsel or for allowing a prisoner to proceed pro se.

Provides for a mandatory stay of execution during the post-conviction review initiated pursuant to this Act. Details conditions which will cause such stay to expire. Prohibits a Federal court, if one of such conditions has occurred, from entering a stay of execution or granting relief in a capital case unless: (1) the basis for the stay and request for relief is a claim not previously presented by the prisoner in the State or Federal courts, and the failure to raise the claim is the result of State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of United States, is the result of Supreme Court recognition of a new Federal right that is retroactively applicable or is based on a factual predicate that could not have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence; (2) the facts underlying the claim would be sufficient, if proven, to undermine the court's confidence in the jury's determination of guilt on the offense for which the death penalty was imposed; or (3) a stay and consideration of the requested relief are necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

Imposes time limits on filing for habeas corpus relief. Requires such time limits to be tolled under specified conditions.

Requires the district court, upon the development of a complete evidentiary record, to rule on the merits of the claims properly before it. Authorizes a district court to refuse to consider a claim under this Act if: (1) the prisoner previously failed to raise the claim in State court at the time and in the manner prescribed by State law; (2) the State courts, for that reason, refused or would refuse to entertain the claim; and (3) such refusal would constitute an adequate and independent State law ground that would foreclose direct review of the State court judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court. Provides an exception to such authorization.

Makes the requirement for a certificate of probable cause inapplicable, with an exception.

States that a mechanism for the provision of counsel services to indigents sufficient to invoke the provisions of this Act shall provide for counsel to indigents: (1) charged with offenses for which capital punishment is sought; (2) who have been sentenced to death and who seek appellate or collateral review in State court; and (3) who have been sentenced to death and who seek certiorari review in the U.S. Supreme Court. Prescribes minimum qualifications for appointed counsel. Authorizes payment of fees and expenses for investigative, expert, or other services reasonably necessary for the representation of the defendant. Allows the court to fix the compensation to be paid to an attorney appointed under this Act.

Specifies which law controls in Federal habeas corpus proceedings.

Title III: Exclusionary Rule - Amends the Federal criminal code to bar the exclusion of evidence obtained as a result of a search or seizure that was in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution if the search or seizure was carried out in reasonable reliance on a warrant that was issued by a detached and neutral magistrate and that was ultimately found to be invalid, unless: (1) the judicial officer in issuing the warrant was materially misled by information in an affidavit that the affiant knew was false or would have known was false except for this reckless disregard of the truth; (2) the judicial officer provided approval of the warrant without exercising a neutral and detached review of the application for the warrant; (3) the warrant was based on an affidavit so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render official belief in its existence entirely unreasonable; or (4) the warrant is so facially deficient that the executing officers could not reasonably presume it to be valid.

Title IV: Assault Weapons - Antidrug, Assault Weapons Limitation Act of 1989 - Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit the transfer, importation, receipt, or possession of any assault weapon, except: (1) by the Federal, State, or local government; and (2) with respect to weapons lawfully possessed before enactment of this Act. Specifies firearms to be included as assault weapons. Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to recommend to the Congress the addition or deletion of firearms to be designated as assault weapons.

Increases the length of imprisonment for an individual who uses or carries an assault weapon during and in relation to the commission of a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime.

Prohibits the sale, shipment, or delivery (or purchase, possession, or acceptance of delivery) of an assault weapon to (or by) any person who does not fill out a specified form. Establishes recordkeeping requirements. Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations for the request and delivery of such form.

Sets penalties for failure to acquire such form with respect to the transfer, receipt, or possession of any assault weapon.

Establishes penalties for: (1) stealing any firearm moving in interstate or foreign commerce; and (2) smuggling a firearm into the United States with intent to engage in or promote certain controlled substance offenses or crimes of violence.

Provides for mandatory revocation of supervised release for possession of a firearm where a condition of such release was that the defendant refrain from possessing a firearm and such defendant is in actual possession of such firearm.

Directs the Attorney General to: (1) investigate and study the effect of this Act on violent and drug trafficking crime; and (2) submit to the Senate a report on its findings.

Specifies the effective period for this Act.

Title V: International Money Laundering - Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report to the Congress annually with respect to certain reporting requirements involving currency transactions, the manner in which U.S. agencies collect and use such reports to support investigations and prosecutions, and a summary of: (1) sanctions imposed for failure to comply with reporting requirements; (2) criminal indictments which resulted from investigations initiated by analysis of such reports; and (3) information regarding suspicious financial transactions provided voluntarily by financial institutions.

Requires the Secretary, within 90 days, to establish an Advisory Group on Reports on Monetary Instruments Transactions consisting of representatives of the Department of the Treasury, financial institutions, and other persons subject to such reporting requirements to provide a means by which the Secretary: (1) informs private sector representatives of the ways in which such reports and information regarding suspicious financial transactions provided voluntarily by financial institutions have been used; and (2) receives advice on the manner in which such reporting requirements should be modified to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to use the information provided.

Directs the Secretary to appoint an Electronic Scanning Task Force to: (1) study methods of printing on U.S. currency notes in denominations of $10 or more a serial number that may be read by electronic scanning; (2) make an assessment of the cost of implementing such scanning; and (3) make recommendations about the amount of time needed for implementation. Requires the Secretary to report to the appropriate congressional committees. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends the Federal criminal code to: (1) authorize the Attorney General to transfer forfeited personal property (or the proceeds of the sale) to any foreign country which participated in the seizure or forfeiture of the property, if certain conditions are met; (2) include within the definition of "specified unlawful activity" with respect to money laundering, offenses under provisions relating to false statements by an employee of a financial institution and false statements in connection with loan and credit applications and to exclude offenses relating to bank fraud; and (3) modify the knowledge requirement with respect to international money laundering.

Amends the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 to: (1) add conforming predicate money laundering references to the "insider" exemption under such Act; and (2) shield from liability any financial institution or any officer, employee, or agent of such institution for refusing to do business with a customer after notifying a governmental authority of information which may be relevant to a possible violation of law.

Title VI: Organized Crime and Dangerous Drug Division - Subtitle A: Establishment of an Organized Crime and Dangerous Drugs Division in the Department of Justice - Justice Department Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Enhancement Act of 1989 - Establishes within the Department of Justice (DOJ) the Organized Crime and Dangerous Drugs Division, consisting initially of specified offices within the Criminal Division of DOJ and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program. Transfers to such Division all functions, personnel, and available funds of such offices and program.

Requires such Division to be headed by an Assistant Attorney General for the Organized Crime and Dangerous Drug Division and a Deputy Assistant.

Establishes within such Division such sections and offices as the Attorney General deems appropriate to maintain or increase the level of enforcement activities with respect to criminal racketeering, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, asset forfeiture, international crime, and civil enforcement.

Directs the Attorney General to establish at least 20 field offices of the Division to be known as Organized Crime and Dangerous Drug Strike Forces. Sets forth additional provisions with respect to coordination of field activities and the transfer of staff assigned to the Task Forces to the Division (designated the Criminal Narcotics Section).

Specifies that the agents assigned to the Strike Forces shall be dedicated exclusively to, and located with, the Strike Forces and shall be given credit for the work of the Strike Forces.

Requires the Assistant Attorney General for Organized Crime and Dangerous Drugs to report to the Congress on the areas of the United States that may require increased assistance from DOJ through the establishment of additional strike forces.

Authorizes appropriations for salaries and expenses of the Division for FY 1990, subject to certain limitations.

Subtitle B: International Prosecution Teams - Requires the Division to include at least ten International Drug Enforcement Teams: (1) devoted exclusively to investigating, prosecuting, and supporting the investigation and prosecution of international drug cases; and (2) responsible for developing expertise in handling civil and criminal cases involving extradition, money laundering, drug-related corruption, and other complex cases relating to international drug trafficking.

Specifies relationships of team members and goals, including improved coordination and cooperation between the United States and foreign countries in the suppression of international money laundering and narcotics trafficking.