Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended (01/25/1982)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on the Judiciary with amendment, S. Rept. 97-307)

Criminal Code Reform Act of 1981 - Title I: Codification, Revision, and Reform of Title 18 - Amends in its entirety title 18 of the U.S. Code, the Federal criminal code. Subdivides such title into the following parts: (1) general provisions and principles; (2) offenses; (3) sentences; (4) administration and procedure; and (5) ancillary civil proceedings.

Part I: General Provisions and Principles - Sets forth the general purpose and application of title 18, general principles of criminal liability, and over 100 general definitions.

States that the existence of Federal jurisdiction is not an element of any offense. Provides that particular offenses may include separate jurisdictional requirements.

Sets forth general provisions on extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Enumerates factors which Federal law enforcement officers should consider in determining whether there is a "sufficient Federal interest" to exercise jurisdiction concurrently with a State. Directs the Attorney General to consult with State and local governments on the exercise of Federal jurisdiction and to report annually to Congress on the extent of this exercise.

Decreases from 78 to four the mental states for criminal culpability ("intentional", "knowing", "reckless", and "negligent").

Sets forth general rules for criminal complicity. Makes a person who facilitates completion of an offense by providing substantial assistance liable as a facilitator.

Codifies the rule making a coconspirator liable for the reasonably foreseeable criminal conduct of another person (the "Pinkerton doctrine").

States as a general principle that the Federal courts shall determine bars to prosecution, defenses, and affirmative defenses in accordance with common law.

Sets forth a general statute of limitations of five years for a misdemeanor or felony (except class A felonies and espionage) and one year for an infraction. (Currently, such limits vary with the offense.) Permits an extended period for certain concealable offenses, such as fraud or misconduct in office.

Makes it a bar to prosecution that the defendant was less than 18 years old at the time of offense, but allows the prosecution as an adult of a defendant who is at least 16 and commits a felonious crime of violence or certain narcotics offenses.

Part II: Offenses - Organizes offenses by the following types (rather than alphabetically as under current law): (1) offenses of general applicability, including attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation; (2) offenses involving national defense; (3) offenses involving international affairs; (4) offenses involving government processes; (5) tax offenses; (6) offenses involving individual rights; (7) offenses against the person; (8) offenses against property; and (9) offenses involving public order, safety, health, and welfare.

Replaces the particularized penalties for specific offenses in current law with general penalty provisions specifying: (1) terms of imprisonment based on five classes of felonies (A to F); three classes of misdemeanors (A to C); and an infraction; and (2) levels of fines according to the type of offense and defendant (individual or organization).

Repeals the Smith Act (prohibiting advocating the overthrow of the Government) and the current prohibition against spreading false information during wartime with intent to aid the enemy.

Includes among new Federal offenses: (1) general attempt and solicitation; (2) engaging in para-military activity for the purpose of taking over a government agency; (3) conspiring in the United States to kill, maim, or kidnap a foreign official; (4) obstructing a government function by fraud or by physical interference; (5) a general crime of false swearing; (6) failing to keep a Government record with intent to defraud in connection with benefits provided by a Federal program; (7) speculating on official action or information; (8) a series of offenses covering election fraud; (9) possession of an eavesdropping device with intent to use it illegally; (10) possession of burglar's tools with intent to use them illegally; (11) trafficking in stolen property; and (12) operating a racketeering syndicate.

Revises numerous offenses, including the following changes.

Adds a new "renunciation" defense to the offense of conspiracy and to the new offenses of attempt and solicitation.

Limits the offense of "impairing military effectiveness" to time of war or national defense emergency or where a major weapons system or means of defense against large scale enemy attack is impaired.

Replaces the current Logan Act (prohibiting private communication with a foreign government to influence foreign policy) with a more narrowly defined offense of "Interfering with Foreign Relations."

Revises "criminal contempt" to impose a maximum prison sentence of six months and a fine of $25,000 for an individual and $100,000 for an organization (current law imposes no such limits).

Modifies "obstruction of justice" to detail prohibited activities with respect to tampering with a witness, victim, or informant.

Changes the offense of "bail jumping" to vary the penalties according to the category of offense.

Makes an oral false statement to a Government official an offense only where: (1) the speaker knows the official is a law enforcement officer; and (2) the statement is volunteered or made after the speaker has been advised that making a false statement is an offense. Requires corroborating evidence that the offender made the alleged statement.

Adds a new defense of retraction to the offense of "making a false statement."

Revises "tax evasion" to eliminate the net tax deficiency requirement (thus allowing prosecution even if no tax is actually due).

Modifies "civil rights offenses" to: (1) include all "persons" (current law protects "citizens"); and (2) allow for a single offender (current law requires a conspiracy). Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (currently law includes race, color, religion, or national origin) in violation of a person's right not to be subject to sex discrimination when that right is in fact federally secured.

Carries forward, in modified form, felony murder.

Extends Federal jurisdiction over any contract murder involving interstate commerce, homicide committed on a railroad operating in commerce, or murder of a U.S. Secret Service protectee.

Expands the offense of homicide of U.S. officials to include Cabinet heads and other high-ranking officials. States, with respect to the killing of Federal employees engaged in official duties, that the Attorney General may designate by regulation additional classes of persons for coverage.

Revises various sex offenses to eliminate distinctions as to the sex of the offender or victim. Includes additional acts in the offense of rape. Makes punishable the aggravated rape of one spouse by the other, but applies the interspousal exemption for lesser sex offenses, including rape. States expressly that corroboration of the victim's testimony is not required.

Provides, with respect to sexual abuse of a minor, that the victim must be less than 16 years old.

Establishes Federal jurisdiction over the offenses of arson and aggravated property destruction where the offense is committed on an energy facility.

Extends Federal jurisdiction over the robbery of a pharmacy involving a controlled substance having a value of over $500.

Consolidates numerous theft statutes under current law. Reduces the penalty for the temporary taking of a motor vehicle by a juvenile. Extends Federal jurisdiction to include thefts from employer or employee trust funds, Federal credit unions, and theft of corporate securities. Creates as a general jurisdictional base, theft from federally funded programs.

Revises the crime of "executing a fraudulent scheme" to cover pyramid sales schemes. Extends Federal jurisdiction to include: (1) trafficking in a substance that is represented to be a controlled substance; (2) soliciting property in a passenger terminal; and (3) obtaining at least $100,000 in insurance proceeds through the offense of arson.

Creates a new bankruptcy fraud offense involving transfers or concealment of property in comtemplation of a State insolvency proceeding.

Extends Federal jurisdiction over the counterfeiting of securities or bonds issued by an organization or State or local government.

Establishes Federal jurisdiction over commercial bribery involving administrators of federally-funded programs. Extends the scope of labor bribery to include bribery involving union membership procedures and work placement. Eliminates the current exemption of Government employee unions from the offense of labor bribery.

Revises "loansharking" to add as a new offense an extension of credit over $100 in value carrying an annual interest rate exceeding the higher of 45 percent or twice the interest on U.S. obligations.

Establishes a mandatory two-year minimum sentence for trafficking in an opiate unless the court finds specified mitigating circumstances. Applies an increased penalty to persons convicted of State and foreign, as well as Federal, felonies involving opiates.

Increases the authorized term of imprisonment for trafficking in large amounts of an opiate or phencyclidine (PCP). Increases the authorized fine for trafficking in large amounts of marihuana.

Applies the current offense of using or carrying a firearm during commission of a Federal felony to "crimes of violence" (instead of felonies). Expands this crime to include displaying any destructive device or other dangerous weapon or imitation thereof.

Requires that the offense be committed "in relation to" as well as "during" the crime. Eliminates the requirement that a firearm be carried "unlawfully." Establishes a mandatory two-year minimum sentence unless the court finds specified mitigating circumstances.

Changes the applicability of "riot offenses" by: (1) requiring the actual occurence of a riot for the crimes of "leading" or "engaging in" a riot; and (2) defining "riot" as involving at least ten persons (three in current law).

Conforms the definition of "obscene material" to Supreme Court decisions for purposes of the offense of "disseminating obscene material." Continues the current meaning of "community" standards as those in the Federal district in which the obscene material is disseminated.

Part III: Sentences - Sets forth a new sentencing structure applicable to a defendant who is found guilty of an offense under any Federal statute. Permits an individual to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment or probation and a fine, and to receive additional sanctions, including: (1) forfeiture for certain racketeering crimes; (2) an order of notice to victims of crimes in cases involving fraud or deceptive practices; or (3) an order of restitution in cases involving bodily injury or property damage. Permits an organization to receive these penalties, with the exception of imprisonment.

Specifies factors to be considered by a sentencing court, including the guidelines and policy statements issued by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Requires the court to impose a sentence within the range set forth by the Commission unless aggravating or mitigating circumstances exist that were not adequately considered by the Commission in formulating the guidelines. Requires the court to state in open court at the time of sentencing the reason for imposing a sentence at a point within the prescribed range, or the specific reason for imposing a sentence outside of such range.

Authorizes the imposition of a term of probation, unless specifically prohibited, for all but the most serious class of felonies. Requires as a mandatory condition of probation that a defendant not commit another crime. Enumerates 20 discretionary conditions.

Sets forth a fine schedule for the categories of offenses generally at higher levels than current law. Includes higher maximums for organizational defendants. Directs the court to consider the defendant's financial status in determining the amount of a fine and the method of payment.

Sets maximum terms of imprisonment for five classes of felonies (A to F), three classes of misdemeanors (A to C), and an infraction (five day maximum). Allows the court, in imposing a sentence of imprisonment for a felony or misdemeanor, to include a term of supervised release after imprisonment.

Eliminates the special sentencing provisions under current law for dangerous special offenders, youth offenders, young adult offenders, and drug addicts, but provides for these categories of offenders under the proposed sentencing guidelines.

Excludes capital punishment as an authorized penalty, but leaves unaffected the current death penalty and procedures for aircraft hijacking.

Eliminates the parole system. Permits a defendant to petition for a sentence reduction upon a showing of extraordinary and compelling reasons. Limits this motion for defendants who are sentenced to five or more years of imprisonment.

Part IV: Administration and Procedure - Amends the wiretapping law to restrict the interception of communications without a court order in emergency situations to the offenses of treason, sabotage, espionage, or involving risk of death (current law limits it to conspiracies involving national security or organized crime).

Establishes new procedures requiring authorization for investigative use of a "call register" (a mechanical device which records numbers dialed on a telephone line to which it is attached).

Sets forth new procedures governing the extradition of persons to and from the United States.

Authorizes only the Attorney General to initiate an extradition complaint.(Current law permits any authority of a foreign government to do so.)

Allows the Attorney General to request issuance of a summons rather than an arrest warrant.

Permits release of a person pending the extradition hearing or appeal upon a showing of "special circumstances" to the court. Requires a court to impose conditions of release that will assure the person's appearance and the safety of the community and any other person.

Provides for waiver of the extradition hearing and consent to removal.

Permits either party to appeal the findings of the district court on a complaint of extradition to the U.S. court of appeals.

Eliminates Federal court jurisdiction to determine whether extradition is sought for a "political offense." Charges the Secretary of State with making this determination.

Increases by 50 percent the maximum authorized compensation for counsel appointed for indigent defendants.

Replaces the Bail Reform Act of 1966 with new bail procedures. Authorizes a judicial officer to consider the safety of any person or the community when making a pretrial release determination. Eliminates execution of a money bond as a condition for pretrial release.

Authorizes a judicial officer to order the pretrial detention of a person upon finding that: (1) no condition will reasonably assure his appearance, and the safety of any other person and the community; and (2) there is a substantial probability that the person committed the offense. Permits a judicial officer to order the temporary detention (up to ten days) of a person who is presently on release, if no conditions will assure his appearance and the safety of the community.

Sets forth additional release conditions.

Permits the release of a defendant after conviction and pending appeal only upon a showing that: (1) he is not likely to flee or pose a danger to another person or property; and (2) the appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact.

Establishes two new exceptions to the requirement that juveniles charged with Federal offenses be turned over to State authorities: (1) for class B or C misdemeanors or infractions committed within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States; and (2) upon certification by the Attorney General that the offense is a class A, B, C, or D felony and "sufficient Federal interest" warranting Federal prosecution.

Establishes a new intake screening requirement for juvenile cases for the purpose of considering alternatives to prosecution.

Authorizes a special verdict of "not guilty only by reason of insanity" for any criminal defendant who raises the issue of insanity by notice as currently provided. Establishes a new civil commitment procedure for persons found not guilty only by reason of insanity.

Permits in a felony or class A misdemeanor case, unless contrary to a plea agreement, a defendant to appeal a sentence greater than the maximum allowed under the Sentencing Commission's guidelines, or a sentence including an order of notice or restitution. Permits the Government, with the personal approval of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, to appeal a sentence less than the applicable minimum.

Treats criminal fine judgments as tax liens (thus making available the summary collection procedures similar to those used by the Internal Revenue Service).

Places the custody of Federal prisoners directly in the Bureau of Prisons rather than with the Attorney General.

Revises good time allowances to provide for a uniform maximum rate of 36 days per year for time in prison beyond the first year. (Currently, credit varies with the length of sentence and begins to accrue at six months.)

Part V: Ancillary Civil Proceedings - Consolidates and enumerates 24 offenses for which the Attorney General may initiate civil forfeiture proceedings.

Establishes in the Treasury a Victim Compensation Fund, consisting of all criminal fines paid in the Federal courts, from which victims of Federal offenses may be compensated upon filing a claim with the United States Victim Compensation Board established by this Act.

Title II: Amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence - Makes a number of specific amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence, including, among others, the following.

Permits a Federal court to extend the service of a regular grand jury beyond its initial 18-month period when such extension is in the public interest.

Allows a special grand jury to: (1) report upon request that it has found no misconduct, malfeasance, or misfeasance by a person in public office; and (2) recommend legislative, administrative, or executive action in the public interest.

Establishes a new rule codifying burdens of proof in criminal cases.

Adds a new rule permitting a court to correct a sentence where the incorrect sentencing guidelines were used.

Title III: Amendments to Title 28 United States Code - Establishes the United States Victim Compensation Board to administer the victim compensation program created by this Act.

Establishes as an independent body in the judicial branch the United States Sentencing Commission to establish sentencing policies and practices for the Federal criminal justice system.

Title IV: General Provisions - Sets forth general provisions including that this Act shall take effect, with specified exceptions, 30 months after the date of enactment.

Title V: Technical and Conforming Amendments Cross-Referenced in Title 18 - Makes technical and conforming amendments.

Title VI: Codification and Revision of Title 18 Appendix Reenactment and Redesignation of Former Sections of Title 18 - Transfers certain offenses contained in current title 18 to a new title 18 Appendix.

Title VII: Technical and Conforming Amendments to Provisions Outside Title 18 and Title 18 Appendix - Makes technical and conforming amendments.