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D.C. Council Is Set To Overhaul The Entire Criminal Code

dcist: “Here’s Everything You Need To Know – Later today the D.C. Council is set to cast a final vote on a monumental piece of legislation, a 450-page bill that would completely overhaul the city’s criminal laws. The full rewrite has been more than a decade in the making, spurred by the simple reality that D.C.’s criminal code was first written by Congress 120 years ago and only updated in piecemeal fashion since. For a project of this magnitude, there’s some surprising consensus. Just about everyone involved says the overhaul needed to happen, and people and groups on opposite sides of the criminal justice system say they generally agree with 95% of it. The full rewrite dangerously decreases penalties for some violent offenses and unwisely expands the right to a jury trial and ability for convicts to request sentence reductions. Defense attorneys and criminal justice reformers, though, say those changes stem from extensive research as well as a practical understanding of how judges are currently sentencing people. Last-minute changes are expected to be debated ahead of Tuesday’s final vote, though it remains likely that lawmakers will ultimately approve the overhaul. (They unanimously did so during an initial vote earlier this month.) Still, Mayor Muriel Bowser has been particularly critical of certain provisions and says she’ll consider wielding her veto pen, and the entire measure will then have to survive a 60-day congressional review period — under a likely GOP-led House. Here’s everything you need to know about the overhaul and the debate around it…”

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