Summary: H.R.5960 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.5960. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (09/16/1992)

Sexual Assault Prevention Act of 1992 - Title I: Sexual Violence - Subtitle A: Penalties and Remedies - Amends the Federal criminal code to provide for pretrial detention in sex offense cases.

Makes murder a Class A felony, mandating the death sentence, when done in the course of certain sex offenses, sexual assault, or child molestation, or when the defendant has previously been convicted of sexual assault or child molestation, subject to specified mitigating factors. Requires instructing the jury not to: (1) be influenced by prejudice or bias relating to the race, color, religion, national origin, or sex of the defendant or any victim; and (2) recommend a death sentence unless it concludes that it would recommend such sentence regardless of such factors. Requires each juror to sign a certification to that effect.

Prohibits: (1) carrying out a death sentence on a woman while she is pregnant; and (2) requiring any employee of, or any person under contract to provide services to, a State corrections department, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or the U.S. Marshals Service, to attend or participate in any execution.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the appointment of counsel for indigent capital defendants; (2) representation after finality of judgment; (3) standards for competence of counsel; (4) claims of ineffectiveness of counsel in collateral proceedings; (5) time limits for collateral attack on a death sentence; (6) stays of execution; and (7) finality of the decision on review.

Increases penalties for: (1) recidivist sex offenders; and (2) sex offenses against victims under age 16.

Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission: (1) to amend the sentencing guidelines to increase by at least four levels the base level for offenses relating to sexual, and aggravated sexual, abuse; (2) to consider whether any other changes applicable to such offenses are warranted; (3) in amending the guidelines in conformity with this provision, to review the appropriateness and adequacy of existing offense characteristics and adjustments applicable to such offenses; and (4) in any subsequent amendment to the guidelines, to maintain minimum guideline sentences for such offenses which are at least equal to those required by this provision.

Amends the Federal criminal code to require that a person charged with an offense under provisions relating to sexual abuse be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus: (1) before release pending trial; and (2) six months and twelve months after the initial test. Requires results to be provided to the judicial officer or court and disclosed only to the victim, the attorney for the Government, and the person tested. Requires the U.S. Sentencing Commission to amend the sentencing guidelines to enhance the sentence of an offender who had reason to know that he was infected, except where the offender did not engage or attempt to engage in conduct creating a risk of transmission.

Amends: (1) the Victims' Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 to require a governmental department or agency to pay for up to two tests for a sexual assault victim in the twelve months following the assault and a counseling session regarding the tests and the risk of transmission as the result of the assault; and (2) the Controlled Substances Act to provide for increased penalties for distribution of a controlled substance to a woman while she is pregnant.

Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize the restitution of victims of sex offenses, including reimbursement for lost income and necessary child care, transportation, and other expenses related to participation in the investigation or prosecution of, or attendance at proceedings related to, the offense. Requires the court to issue an order requiring restitution of the full amount of the victims's losses and expenses for which restitution is authorized in imposing sentence, unless the Government and the victim do not request such restitution.

Provides for the enforcement of restitution orders through the suspension of Federal benefits.

Provides that whoever, in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, engages in sexual violence against another, shall be liable to the injured party in a civil action. Includes among the relief available compensatory and punitive damages and any appropriate equitable or declaratory relief. Amends the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act of 1976 to include such provision with respect to payment of attorney fees.

Subtitle B: Rules of Evidence, Practice, and Procedure - Amends the Federal Rules of Evidence to allow evidence of similar offenses in criminal or civil sexual assault and child molestation cases.

Revises Federal Rule of Evidence 412 (rape victim shield law), including: (1) making inadmissible reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim of a sex offense, and evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior other than reputation or opinion evidence (with exceptions), in a civil case (current law applies only to criminal cases); and (2) requiring any order admitting such evidence to explain the reasoning leading to the finding of relevance and the basis of the finding that its probative value outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice notwithstanding the potential of the evidence to humiliate and embarass the alleged victim and to result in unfair or biased inferences.

Amends the Federal criminal code to provide that an appeal by the United States before trial shall lie to a court of appeals from an order of a district court admitting evidence of an alleged victim's past sexual behavior in a criminal case in which the defendant is charged with a sex offense, whether or not the conduct occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison.

Adds a Federal Rule of evidence that, in a criminal case in which a person is accused of a sex offense, evidence is not admissible to show that the alleged victim invited or provoked the commission of the offense.

Enacts rules to be known as the Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers in Federal Practice and includes them as an appendix to provisions of the U.S. Code relating to the judiciary and judicial procedure. Applies the rules to proceedings before a U.S. court or a Federal agency that carries out adjudicatory or quasi-adjudicatory functions. Includes rules relating to: (1) litigation abuse (including conduct to increase litigation expenses or with no substantial purpose other than to distress another person); (2) a duty of enquiry in relation to the client (including attempting to elicit from the client a materially complete account of the alleged criminal activity or civil wrong if the client acknowledges involvement in such activity or wrong), and to elicit the material facts relevant to a defense of alibi if the client denies such involvement; (3) a duty to expedite litigation (including not attempting to delay or prolong proceedings for specified reasons); and (4) a duty to prevent the commission of a crime (including allowing or requiring disclosure of information).

Amends the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to provide that: (1) if the offense charged is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, each side is entitled to six peremptory challenges (currently, six for the Government and ten for the defendant or defendants jointly); and (2) if sentence is to be imposed for a crime of violence or sexual abuse, the court shall (before imposing sentence) address the victim personally if the victim is present at the sentencing hearing, and determine if the victim wishes to make a statement and present any information in relation to the sentence (which statement may be made in camera under specified circumstances).

Expresses the sense of the Congress that news media, law enforcement personnel, and other persons should exercise restraint and respect a rape victim's privacy by not disclosing the victim's identity to the general public or facilitating such disclosure without the victim's consent.

Subtitle C: Safe Campuses - Requires the Attorney General to: (1) provide for a national baseline study to examine the scope of the problem of campus sexual assaults and the effectiveness of institutional and legal policies in addressing such crimes and protecting victims; and (2) submit a report to the Congress by September 1, 1995. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends: (1) the General Education Provisions Act to provide for the disclosure of arrest records by campus police; and (2) the Higher Education Act of 1965 to add sexual assault to the list of offenses regarding which certain institutions are required to collect and disclose statistics.

Subtitle D: Assistance to States and Localities - Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to support projects and programs relating to sexual violence. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) formula and discretionary grant allotments; (2) application requirements for formula grants; (3) conditions on grants; (4) program evaluation (by the National Institute of Justice); (5) coordination of grant administration; and (6) reporting requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Authorizes the Attorney General to make supplementary grants to States adopting laws that exceed or are reasonably comparable to Federal provisions relating to sexual violence in certain respects. Authorizes appropriations.

Title II: Domestic Violence and Offenses Against the Family - Amends the Federal criminal code to establish penalties (including mandatory penalties if the offense involves the infliction of bodily injury on, or the commission of sexual abuse against, the victim) for interstate travel to commit spouse abuse or to violate a protective order, subject to specified requirements. Provides for mandatory restitution and pretrial detention for victims of such offense. Includes as an aggravating factor, for purposes of death penalty provisions under this Act, that a killing occurred in the course of such offense.

Establishes penalties (including restitution) for noncompliance with child support obligations in interstate cases. Makes compliance with any court or administrative order under State law requiring payments for the support of a child, or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living, a condition of probation.

Provides for full faith and credit of protective orders among the States.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that, for purposes of determining child custody, evidence establishing that a parent engages in physical abuse of a spouse should create a statutory presumption that it is detrimental to the child to be placed in the custody of the abusive spouse.

Directs the Attorney General to: (1) prepare a report on the status of battered women's syndrome as a medical and psychological condition and on its effect in criminal trials; (2) conduct a study of the means by which abusive spouses may obtain information concerning the addresses or locations of estranged or former spouses; (3) complete a study of problems of recordkeeping of criminal complaints involving domestic violence; and (4) evaluate, develop, prepare and disseminate to State authorities, and make recommendations concerning anti-stalking legislation. Sets forth reporting requirements.

Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to support projects and programs relating to domestic violence and other criminal and unlawful acts that particularly affect women. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) formula and discretionary grant allotments; (2) application requirements for formula grants; (3) conditions on grants; (4) program evaluation; (5) coordination of grant administration; and (6) reporting requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Title III: National Task Force on Violence Against Women - Establishes the National Task Force on Violence Against Women to develop a uniform Federal, State, and local law enforcement strategy aimed at protecting women against violent crimes, punishing persons who commit such crimes, and enhancing the rights of the victims. Sets forth administrative and reporting requirements. Authorizes appropriations.