SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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DEFENDING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE: SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2005
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM,
AND HOMELAND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
APRIL 12, 2005
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Serial No. 10941
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
DARRELL ISSA, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
TOM FEENEY, Florida
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
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PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina, Chairman
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
TOM FEENEY, Florida
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
RIC KELLER, Florida
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAY APPERSON, Chief Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Special Counsel for Intelligence
and Homeland Security
MICHAEL VOLKOV, Deputy Chief Counsel
JASON CERVENAK, Full Committee Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
APRIL 12, 2005
The Honorable Howard Coble, a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable Robert C. Scott, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Ms. Jodi L. Avergun, Chief of Staff, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice
Mr. Ronald E. Brooks, President, National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition (NNOAC)
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Ms. Lori Moriarty, Thornton Police Department, Thornton, Colorado, Commander, North Metro Drug Task Force, and President, Colorado's Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
Mr. William N. Brownsberger, Associate Director, Public Policy Division on Addictions, Harvard Medical School
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Prepared Statement of Catherine M. O'Neil, Associate Deputy Attorney General, and Director, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, United States Department of Justice, before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, July 6, 2004
Article entitled ''Drug Market Thrives By Methadone Clinics,'' Serge F. Kovaleski, Washington Post Staff Writer, The Washington Post, August 12, 2002
Article entitled ''Probe Confirms Dealing of Drugs Near D.C. Clinics,'' Monte Reel, Washington Post Staff Writer, The Washington Post, July 7, 2004
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Article entitled ''Kids Caught in Meth Lab Pressure Cooker,'' Sarah Huntley, News Staff Writer, Rocky Mountain News, March 15, 2002
Supplemental materials from William N. Brownsberger, Associate Director, Public Policy Division on Addictions, Harvard Medical School
Supplemental material from Lori Moriarty, Thornton Police Department, Thornton, Colorado, Commander, North Metro Drug Task Force, and President, Colorado's Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
Brochure submitted by the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
Position Paper of the American Bar Association (ABA)
Letter from coalition of organizations expressing their views on H.R. 1528, ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005,'' to the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. and the Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Letter from former United States Attorneys and Department of Justice officials expressing their views on H.R. 1528, ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005,'' to the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. and the Honorable Bobby Scott
Letter from Thomas W. Hiller, II, Chair, Legislative Expert Panel, Federal Public and Community Defenders, to the Honorable Howard Coble and the Honorable Bobby Scott
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Letter from teachers of law expressing their views on H.R. 1528, ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005,'' to the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. and the Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Letter from Frank O. Bowman, III, M. Dale Palmer Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law, to the Honorable Howard Coble and the Honorable Bobby Scott
Response to post-hearing questions from Lori Moriarty, Thornton Police Department, Thornton, Colorado, Commander, North Metro Drug Task Force, and President, Colorado's Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
Response to post-hearing questions from Ronald E. Brooks, President, National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition (NNOAC)
DEFENDING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE: SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2005
TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2005
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,
and Homeland Security
Committee on the Judiciary,
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The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:05 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Howard Coble (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. COBLE. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security holds a hearing today on H.R. 1528, the ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005,'' introduced by Chairman Sensenbrenner.
Last year, you will recall, the Subcommittee considered H.R. 4547 and examined the problem of drug dealers preying on vulnerable individuals, such as recovering addicts and minors. The Subcommittee held the compellingheard the compelling testimony of Tyrone Patterson, who was the manager of the model treatment center for the D.C. Department of Health, who graphically confirmed previous news reports highlighting this problem, which is occurring on a daily basis just minutes from where we are now here at the Capitol.
More than 1,000 addicts attend drug treatment in Northeast D.C., receiving care at three public methadone centers in the area. Drug dealers operate out of a nearby McDonald's parking lot next to the largest methadone treatment center in D.C. and within three blocks of two other treatment centers. Mr. Patterson gave us a firsthand account of the availability of drugs and the daily temptations his patients face as they try to overcome psychological and physical addiction. We also heard the results of an undercover investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office which exposed the revolving door of individual dealers arrested for dealing near these treatment centers, only to return because they faced little or no jail time for their trafficking activities.
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Adult addicts are not the only victims of drug dealers. We also learned of cases in which the drug dealers knowingly exposed children, including parents who exposed their own kids to the seedy and dangerous world of drug trafficking. This includes the storage and distribution of drugs for profit in their own homes where oftentimes small children reside.
H.R. 1528 addresses these issues by strengthening the laws regarding trafficking to minors and creating criminal penalties for individuals who traffick drugs near a drug treatment facility. The legislation examined today makes it unlawful to distribute to a person enrolled in a drug treatment program or to distribute drugs within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment facility.
I have stated previously that the opponents of mandatory minimums would have a stronger argument if they could be assured thatif they could assure Congress that all Federal judges were faithfully adhering to the Federal sentencing guidelines, and I think most of them are. But sadly, the Supreme Court's recent decision in Booker/Fanfan obliterated 20 years of national sentencing policy and rendered these guidelines advisory. Thus, the bills targeting mandatory minimum provisions are all the more important.
H.R. 1528, while not providing a legislative fix to these Supreme Court cases, does provide procedural mandates to ensure an adequate sentencing record for appellate courts and for Congress and the public as we consider legislation. H.R. 1528 codifies prior Congressional directives prohibiting the use of inappropriate factors in sentencing, as well as others which were prohibited or discouraged by the Sentencing Commission and the U.S. Court of Appeals that prohibits other such factors which have been abused by some sentencing judges.
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I want to thank you, all of the witnesses, for being here today and we look forward to your testimony.
I am now pleased to recognize the ranking Democratic Member, the distinguished Member from Virginia, Mr. Bobby Scott, for his opening statement.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'm pleased to join you in convening this hearing on H.R. 1528.
The bill purports to protect drug treatment patients, children, and young adults from drug dealers. However, its primary focus is on an array of provisions increasing sentencing guideline ranges, adding new mandatory minimums, and increasing minimum ones by at least five-fold to mandatory life without parole, including a ''three strikes and you're out'' provision. This latter provision, as with mandatory minimum sentences, has been roundly discredited as wasteful, racially discriminatory, soundbite-based political pandering which will have virtually no impact on reducing crime.
There's a provision, section 12 of the bill, which would appear to be designed to overturn Booker/Fanfan decision recently decided by the Supreme Court. Professor Frank Bowman testified on last year's version of the bill and is considered an expert on this issue. He reads the provision as imposing mandatory minimum sentences through the sentencing guidelines by making the bottom of the guidelines a minimum sentence in all but the narrowest of circumstances, other than substantial assistance motions by the Government. Many, including yours truly, feel that this provision is not in keeping with the representations that the Committee would not be taking up Bookerthe Booker/Fanfan issue this year.
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Further, the bill provides for conspiracies and attempts to be punished in the same manner as actually committing the crime. This will only increase disparity in sentencing. As with mandatory minimum sentencing, there is no ability to distinguish between major players and bit players in a crime. One of the primary purposes of establishing the U.S. Sentencing Guideline was to remove disparate treatment among like offenders. Giving unlike offenders the same sentence for crimes just as muchcreates just as much sentencing disparity as giving like offenders different sentences.
The other provision of the bill eliminates the drug quantity sentencing cap established by the Sentencing Commission and restricts the application of the safety valve and substantial assistance to the Government sentencing reduction provisions.
I have often cited numerous studies and recommendations of researchers, academicians, the judicial branch, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and sentencing professionals reflecting the problems created by the proliferation of mandatory minimum sentences. They are cited as wasteful compared to alternative sentencing and alternatives such as drug treatment. They disrupt the ability of the Sentencing Commission and the courts to apply orderly, proportional, non-disparate sentencing. They are found to be discriminatory against minorities and transfer an inordinate amount of discretion to prosecutors in an adversarial system. They have also been cited in one of the letters we've received from the Judicial Conference as violating common sense.
Practically speaking, there's no reason to believe that H.R. 1528 will have an impact on crimes which it is purportedly aimed. In its essence, the bill simply increases penalties for drug trafficking. Yet the problem seems to be a law enforcement problem, not a sentencing problem. With the GAO, the treatment centers, and now the Judiciary Committee, reporting illegal drug activity in and around drug treatment centers in specific detail, the question is, why aren't we enforcing the current laws that are on the books today? Adding more laws to the current ones that are not being enforced is of very little assistance to the problem.
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The suggestion that current Federal illegal drug penalties are not severe enough to incentivize law enforcement is unfounded, given the long prison sentences now being served by drug offenders and the fact that they constitute a growing majority of offenders in the Federal system. Just as unfounded is the notion that access to drugs by drug treatment patients and children will be significantly affected by having harsher penalties is, as I indicated, unfounded.
Studies of drug quantities, quality, and price indicate that they are more plentiful and higher qualities and lower prices than ever before. Offenders generally have access to drugs within their neighborhoods. There is nothing to suggest that they obtained the drugs to which they are addicted near the drug treatment center at which they are being treated, and this bill would mostly affect minorities who live in urban areas where the zones will predominate as compared to suburban areas where the drug use iswhere drug use is no less prevalent, but drug-free zones are. And that's, Mr. Chairman, because when you draw all the concentric circles around all the schools and drug treatment centers and everything else, in some urban areas, you will haveyou would have covered the entire urban area. In suburban areas, obviously, there'll be areas that will not be included.
Having offenders who happen to violate the law within the inner edge of one zone who are not selling to children andwho are not selling to children and treatment participants receiving vastly different sentences from those who violate the law a few feet away makes no sense. Jailing parents or custodians of children for long mandatory minimum sentences for drug activities in their presence and forcing children into foster care and other makeshift arrangements is of obviously dubious value to the children.
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So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to our witnesses who can comment on this and comment on the mandatory minimums and the other initiatives that we have in the bill to see how we can actually reduce crime.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman from Virginia.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's the practice of the Subcommittee to swear in all witnesses appearing before it, so if you would, please, stand and raise your right hands.
Do each of you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give this Subcommittee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
Ms. AVERGUN. I do.
Mr. BROOKS. I do.
Ms. MORIARTY. I do.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I do.
Mr. COBLE. Let the record show that each of the witnesses has answered in the affirmative. You may be seated.
We have four distinguished witnesses with us today and my introduction is somewhat lengthy, but I think it's important for those in the audience who are not familiar with the backgrounds of our witnesses to know some of their backgrounds, which, by the way, are impressive.
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Our first witness is Jodi Avergun, Chief of Staff to the Administrator at the Drug Enforcement Administration. Prior to joining DEA, Ms. Avergun served as Chief in the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section at the Department of Justice. While in NDDS, she managed a staff of 47 attorneys in Washington, Virginia, and Bogota, Colombia, and exercised general oversight of all Federal narcotics prosecutions as well as national drug policy decisions. Additionally, Ms. Avergun served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she worked as Chief of the Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Ms. Avergun has also received more than 20 awards for excellence in law enforcement, including the Director's Award for Superior Performance as Assistant U.S. Attorney. She's an alumna of Brown University and the Brooklyn Law School.
Our second witness is Mr. Ronald Brooks, President of the National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition. As President, he represents the interests of the Nation's narcotic officers with the White House, Congress, Federal law enforcement agencies, and professional associations. Mr. Brooks is a 30-year veteran law enforcement officer with more than 24 years spent in narcotics enforcement. Additionally, he is currently a captain with the San Mateo County, California, Sheriff's Office. In this capacity, he is responsible for administering a $6 million budget and overseeing grants, technical and analytical support for drug enforcement operations in the 10-county San Francisco Bay area. He was awarded a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from the University of San Francisco.
Our third witness is Ms. Lori Moriarty, Commander of the North Metro Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional undercover drug unit at the Thornton Police Department. Ms. Moriarty has been instrumental in implementing protocols for the safe investigation of methamphetamine labs and undercover drug operations. Moreover, Ms. Moriarty serves as the President of the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, which rescue, defend, shelter, and support drug endangered children in Colorado. She also trains thousands of professionals across the State of Colorado on meth lab awareness. Ms. Moriarty was recognized by the President of the United States in 2001 when she received the Drug Commander of the Year Award. Ms. Moriarty attended the University of Colorado and Regis University.
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Our final witness today is Mr. William Brownsberger, Associate Director for the Public Policy Division on Addictions at the Harvard Medical School. As Associate Director, Mr. Brownsberger develops research and education programs on social policy issues regarding addictions. Additionally, he serves as a Senior Criminal Justice Advisor at Boston University School of Public Health, where he directs a national panel on substance abuse treatment quality. Previously, Mr. Brownsberger served as Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Assistant Attorney General, he worked as the Asset Forfeiture Chief in the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division. Mr. Brownsberger is also the author of numerous publications, including ''Drug Addiction and Drug Policy'' and ''Profile of Anti-Drug Law Enforcement in Urban Poverty Areas in Massachusetts.'' He was awarded his undergraduate and J.D. degrees from Harvard.
We are pleased to have you all with us today. I see we have been joined by our friend from Texas, Mr. Gohmert. It is good to have you, Mr. Gohmert, with us.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you all have previously been advised, we adhere to the 5-minute rule here. We impose it against you all. We impose it against ourselves. So if you all could, when you see that amber light illuminate in your faces, that is a warning that the ice is becoming thin on which you are skating. When the red light appears, that indicates that the 5 minutes have elapsed. We have examined your testimony. We will reexamine it. So if you could adhere to the 5-minute rule, we would be appreciative.
Ms. Avergun, we will start with you. I'm not sure your mike's on. Pull it closer to you, Ms. Avergun.
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Ms. AVERGUN. I think it's on now?
Mr. COBLE. That's better.
TESTIMONY OF JODI L. AVERGUN, CHIEF OF STAFF, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Ms. AVERGUN. Okay. Chairman Coble and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, on behalf of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Karen Tandy, I appreciate your invitation to testify today regarding the important issue that affects many of our Nation's children.
The men and women of DEA and many prosecutors throughout the Department of Justice spend each day fighting to protect our children from the many harms that drugs cause to each and every member of society. Drug trafficking and drug abuse unfairly, and in alarming numbers, make children victims. Drug trafficking and drug abuse steal our children's health, innocence, and security. From a drug-addicted parent who neglects a child, to a clandestine methamphetamine cook using a child's play area as a laboratory site, to a parent using a child to serve as camouflage for their stash, to a child being present for a drug transaction, the list goes on and on, but the end result remains the same: innocent children suffer from being exposed to illegal drugs.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, today, my testimony is a follow-up to that presented by Ms. Catherine O'Neil last year to this Subcommittee regarding H.R. 4547, the ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004.'' I request that her earlier testimony be made part of today's hearing record.
We are here today to reiterate our support for key parts of the legislation that addresses drug trafficking involving minors. The endangerment of children through exposure to drug activity, sales of drugs to children, the use of minors in drug trafficking, and the peddling of pharmaceutical and other illicit drugs to drug treatment patients are all significant problems today. Sadly, horrific examples of these types of incidents are spread across our Nation.
To take just one example, a DEA investigation in Missouri occurring in November 2004 demonstrates this all too frequent occurrence. During a raid on a suspected methamphetamine lab located in a home, three children, all under 5 years of age, were found sleeping on chemical-soaked rugs. The residence was filled with insects and rodents and had no electricity or running water. Two guard dogs kept by the cooks to fend off law enforcement were also found. The dogs were clean, healthy, and well-fed.
The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously prosecuting drug trafficking in all of its egregious forms. Prosecutions range from high-level international drug traffickers to street-level predators who are tempting children or addicts with the lure of profit and the promise of intoxication. All of these prosecutions are part of the Department of Justice's mandate within the National Drug Control Strategy to disrupt the sources of and markets for drugs.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The people who target their trafficking activity at those with the least ability to resist such offers deserve not only our most pointed contempt, but also severe punishment. We stand firmly behind the intent of this new legislation to increase the punishment meted out to those who would harm us, our children, and those seeking to escape the cycle of addiction.
The Department of Justice supports mandatory minimum sentences in appropriate circumstances, such as trafficking involving minors and trafficking in and around drug treatment centers. Mandatory minimum sentences provide a level of uniformity and predictability in sentencing to deter certain types of criminal behavior, increase public safety by locking away dangerous criminals for long periods of time, and serve as important tools used by prosecutors in obtaining cooperation from defendants.
My written testimony addresses several specific provisions within H.R. 1528. The Department agrees with the idea that individuals who intentionally endanger children, either through the distribution, storage, manufacture, or otherwise trafficking of drugs, should face appropriate punishments. However, we have some reservations about the consequences of section 2(m), titled ''Failure to Protect Children from Drug Trafficking Activities.''
Also, we strongly support the proposed amendment to 18 U.S.C. 3553(f) insofar as it would require Government certification that the defendant has timely met the full disclosure requirements for the safety valve exemption in certain mandatory minimum sentences. However, we are concerned that the bill may unnecessarily exclude those who initially make a false statement or omit information but later correct those statements.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additionally, the Department agrees with the principle that in almost all circumstances, a defendant who has been found guilty should be immediately detained. We also acknowledge that the circumstances in which release pending sentencing where appeal is necessary are extremely limited. Nevertheless, we cannot support this proposal to the extent it requires Government certification as to a defendant's cooperation and precludes release pending appeal.
The Department was pleased to see the addition of language asking the Sentencing Commission to make recommendations for an increase in the guideline range where there is a substantial risk of harm to the life in the manufacture of any controlled substance as opposed to simply methamphetamine. We support the proposal to widen the guidelines from including only the manufacture of meth or amphetamine to include the manufacture and distribution of any controlled substances.
The DEA and Department of Justice are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting drug traffickers. We support measures that will aid in the protection of children and enhance our abilities to prosecute those individuals who seek to involve them in their illegal drug activities and support the Committee's efforts to do the same.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your recognition and assistance on this important issue and the opportunity to testify here today. I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Avergun follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JODI L. AVERGUN
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Chairman Coble, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, on behalf of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Karen Tandy, I appreciate your invitation to testify today regarding this important issue that affects many of our nation's children.
The DEA has seen firsthand the devastation that illegal drugs cause in the lives of children. Children are our nation's future and our most precious resource, and sadly, many of them are having their lives and dreams stolen by illegal drugs. This theft takes many forms, from a drug addicted parent who neglects a child, to a clandestine methamphetamine ''cook'' using a child's play area as a laboratory site, to a parent using a child to serve as camouflage for their ''stash,'' to a child being present during a drug transaction. The list goes on and on, but the end result remains the same: innocent children needlessly suffer from being exposed to illegal drugs.
DRUG ENDANGERED CHILDREN
The Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies at all levels seek to protect the most vulnerable segments of our society from those drug traffickers and drug addicted individuals who exploit those individuals least able to protect themselves. In 2003, Congress made significant strides in this area by enacting the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act, better known as the PROTECT Act. This law has proven effective in enabling law enforcement to pursue and to punish wrongdoers who threaten the youth of America. Last year Chairman Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 4547, the ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004,'' which would have taken these efforts even further by focusing on the scourge of drug trafficking in some of its most base and dangerous forms: those who use minors to commit trafficking offenses, trafficking to minors, trafficking in places where minors are present, and trafficking in or near drug treatment centers.
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Mr. Chairman, today my testimony is a follow-up to the testimony presented in July of last year to this Subcommittee by Ms. Catherine O'Neil, Associate Deputy Attorney General, regarding H.R. 4547. We request that her earlier testimony be made part of today's hearing record. We are here today to reiterate our support for legislation that addresses drug-related incidents involving minors.
The endangerment of children through exposure to drug activity, sales of drugs to children, the use of minors in drug trafficking, and the peddling of pharmaceutical and other illicit drugs to drug treatment patients are all significant problems today. Sadly, the horrific examples below are just a few instances where children have been found victimized and exploited by people whose lives have been taken over by drugs:
From FY 2000 through the first quarter of FY 2005, over 15,000 children were reported as being affected in clandestine laboratory-related incidents. The term ''affected children'' is defined as a child being present and/or evidence that a child lived at a clandestine laboratory site. This total reflects only those instances where law enforcement was involved. The true number of children affected by clandestine laboratory incidents is unknown, though it is surely much greater.
In 2004, a defendant from Iowa pled guilty to conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine. Although the meth was not manufactured in the defendant's home, where the defendant's 4-year-old son also lived, was used as the distribution point for large quantities of meth. The son's hair tested positive for extremely high levels of meth, indicating chronic exposure to the drug. In this case, no enhancement could be applied because of the son's exposure, as he had not been endangered during the actual manufacture of the meth.
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In November 2004, the DEA raided a suspected methamphetamine lab located in a home in Missouri. During this operation three children, all under five years of age, were found sleeping on chemical-soaked rugs. The residence was filled with insects and rodents and had no electricity or running water. Two guard dogs kept by the ''cooks'' to fend off law enforcement were also found: clean, healthy, and well-fed. The dogs actually ate off a dinner plate.
Currently, investigations targeting individuals involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine which are prosecuted on a federal level have a sentencing enhancement available. This enhancement provides a six-level increase and a guidelines floor at level 30 (about 8-to-10 years for a first offender) when a substantial risk of harm to the life of a minor or an incompetent individual is created. Unfortunately, investigations targeting traffickers involved in the distribution of other illegal drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, do not have this same enhancement. For example:
During October 1999, the DEA's Philadelphia Field Division initiated a heroin investigation targeting an international organization ranging from street level dealers and couriers to a source of supply in South America. This investigation resulted in ''spin-off'' investigations in New York and South America. Indictments and arrests stemming from the Philadelphia portion of this investigation began in early 2001, and resulted in over 20 arrests. The most significant charge filed against these defendants was Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin (21 USC §846). Additionally, seven subjects were charged with Distribution of Heroin within 1,000 feet of a School (21 USC §860).
During August 2003, fire department personnel and local law enforcement authorities responded to a hotel fire in a family resort in Emmett County, Michigan. The fire was the result of a subject's attempts to manufacture methcathinone. Authorities subsequently seized a small quantity of methcathinone, along with chemistry books, from the room.
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In an investigation initiated by DEA's Philadelphia Field Division, a subject hid approximately 400 grams of heroin under his infant during a buy/bust operation. During the course of his guilty plea in March 2004, the defendant admitted that he stored the drugs under the infant.
The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously prosecuting drug trafficking in all of its egregious forms. Prosecutions range from high-level international drug traffickers to street-level predators who are tempting children or addicts with the lure of profit and the promise of intoxication.
We have had some successes. Statistics maintained by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicate that between 1998 and 2002 over 300 defendants were sentenced annually under the guideline that provides for enhanced penalties for drug activity involving protected locations, minors, or pregnant individuals. But our tools are limited. And we have no specific weapon against those who distribute controlled substances within the vicinity of a drug treatment center.
The people who would sink to the depths of inhumanity by targeting their trafficking activity at those with the least ability to resist such offers are deserving the most severe punishment. The Department of Justice cannot and will not tolerate this conduct in a free and safe America, and that is why the Department of Justice stands firmly behind the intent of this legislation to increase the punishment meted out to those who would harm us, our children, and those seeking to escape the cycle of addiction.
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MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES
The Department of Justice supports mandatory minimum sentences in appropriate circumstances. In a way sentencing guidelines cannot, mandatory minimum statutes provide a level of uniformity and predictability in sentencing. They deter certain types of criminal behavior determined by Congress to be sufficiently egregious as to merit harsh penalties by clearly forewarning the potential offender and the public at large of the minimum potential consequences of committing such an offense. And mandatory minimum sentences can also incapacitate dangerous offenders for long periods of time, thereby increasing public safety. Equally important, mandatory minimum sentences provide an indispensable tool for prosecutors, because they provide the strongest incentive to defendants to cooperate against the others who were involved in their criminal activity.
In drug cases, where the ultimate goal is to rid society of the entire trafficking enterprise, mandatory minimum statutes are especially significant. Unlike a bank robbery, for which a bank teller or an ordinary citizen could be a critical witness, often in drug cases the critical witnesses are drug users and/or other drug traffickers. The offer of relief from a mandatory minimum sentence in exchange for truthful testimony allows the Government to move steadily and effectively up the chain of supply, using the lesser distributors to prosecute the more serious dealers and their leaders and suppliers. Mandatory minimum sentences are needed in appropriate circumstances, such as trafficking involving minors and trafficking in and around drug treatment centers.
SPECIFIC PROVISIONS WITHIN H.R. 1528
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I would now like to turn to a few of the specific provisions included in H.R. 1528. As I mentioned earlier, the Department stands behind the testimony provided last year by Ms. Catherine O'Neil.
Section 2: Protecting Children from Drug Traffickers
The Department agrees with the idea that individuals who intentionally endanger children, either through the distribution, storage, manufacture, or otherwise trafficking of drugs, should face appropriate punishments.
However, we do have some reservations about the consequences of Section 2(m), titled ''Failure to Protect Children from Drug Trafficking Activities.'' As drafted, we have some concerns about the enforceability of the section due to the vagueness of the language. In addition, we are concerned that it will unintentionally create an adversarial parental relationship, and discourage (rather than encourage) kids to talk openly with their parents about drug trafficking. Certainly, we want to encourage parents and other legal guardians to do the right thing, but we would encourage the Subcommittee to reconsider this section.
Section 6: Assuring limitation on applicability of statutory minimums to persons who have done everything they can to assist the Government
We strongly support the proposed amendment to 18 U.S.C. §3553(f), insofar as it would require Government certification that the defendant has timely met the full disclosure requirement for the safety valve exemption from certain mandatory minimum sentences.
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We certainly understand the concerns that prompted this proposal. Our prosecutors rightfully complain that courts often accept minimal, bare-bones confessional disclosures and, in some cases, continue sentencing hearings to afford a defendant successive tries at meeting even this low standard. The Department of Justice thus is aware that some courts and defendants have too liberally construed the safety valve and have applied it in circumstances that were clearly unwarranted and where no beneficial information was conveyed. For these reasons, we strongly support the prosecutor certification requirement.
Requiring courts to rely on the Government's assessment as to whether a defendant's disclosure has been truthful and complete would effectively address the problems prosecutors have encountered with respect to application of the safety valve.
However, we are concerned that the bill may unnecessarily exclude those who initially make a false statement, but later correct it. We expressed this concern informally last year and look forward to working with the Subcommittee to address it.
Section 9: Mandatory detention of persons convicted of serious drug trafficking offenses and crimes of violence
The Department agrees with the principle that, in almost all circumstances, a defendant who has been found guilty should be immediately detained. We also acknowledge that the circumstances in which release pending sentencing or appeal is necessary are extremely limited.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nevertheless, we cannot support this proposal to the extent it requires Government certification as to a defendant's cooperation and precludes release pending appeal. Even with sealed pleadings, a defendant's intention to cooperate would be much more apparent under this provision, and this likely would have an adverse impact on a defendant's willingness to cooperate, on the value of the cooperation, and on the safety of the defendant. By foreclosing the possibility of release for circumstances other than cooperation and, thereby, telegraphing a defendant's intention to assist the Government, this proposal would severely diminish the value of one of our most useful investigative and prosecutorial tools. Moreover, this is a tool that we employ not simply post-conviction but, sometimes, pending appeal as well. A prosecutor should not be effectively prohibited from seeking release after sentencing, if the particular circumstances of the case so warrant.
We look forward to working with the Subcommittee on this issue.
Section 10: Protecting Human Life and Assuring Child Safety
The Department was pleased to see the addition of language asking the Sentencing Commission to make recommendations for an increase in the guideline range where there is a substantial risk of harm to the life in the manufacture of ANY controlled substance. The case in the Western District of Michigan (mentioned earlier) highlights the need to expand these guidelines. We support the proposal to widen the guidelines from including only the manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine to include the manufacture of any controlled substance.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Children continue to be exposed, exploited and endangered by individuals involved at all levels of the illegal drug spectrum. Regardless of whether they are high-level traffickers, street-level dealers, ''cooks'' or addicts, they all are involved in some fashion in stealing away our nation's youth. The Department of Justice is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting drug traffickers. We support measures that will aid in the protection of children and enhance our abilities to prosecute those individuals who seek to involve them in their illegal drug activities, and support the Subcommittee's efforts to do the same.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your recognition and assistance on this important issue and the opportunity to testify here today. This is an ambitious bill with important implications for the work of the Justice Department. We continue to study the issues presented by the bill and stand ready to discuss the matter with you or the Subcommittee's staff. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Brooks?
TESTIMONY OF RONALD E. BROOKS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NARCOTIC OFFICERS' ASSOCIATIONS' COALITION (NNOAC)
Mr. BROOKS. Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Scott, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify on the importance of protecting America's most vulnerable citizens from the dangers posed by illegal drugs.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The problem of selling drugs to recovering addicts at or near drug treatment facilities is the cruelest side of a cruel business, preying on our most vulnerable citizens when they're at their weakest. Those brave souls who are fighting their addiction in treatment and recovery programs are often targets of drug traffickers looking for an easy sale.
Treatment providers throughout California have told me that the predatory drug sellers often lurk near drug treatment and recovery centers looking for customers who are susceptible to relapse. I've seen those predators firsthand in scores of investigations that I've conducted and supervised at or near treatment centers and methadone clinics.
Mr. Chairman, police officers are driven to face the danger that they do each day because we witness impressionable young lives ruined when they are lured into a culture of crime by adults promising quick money. The damage this causes to a child's life and collectively to society as a whole is incalculable and inexcusable.
I supervised a raid on a rural super lab that was producing more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine per production. As we approached the house to execute our search warrant, a large cloud of highly toxic gas began to vent from the house. Upon entry into the dangerous environment, I encountered four armed meth cookers and an 8-month pregnant woman with her two small children, who had been in the house during the entire 2-day reaction.
In one operation at a large rave event in San Francisco, after collecting paymentsmy apologies. I thought it was off. In one operation at a large rave event at San Francisco, after collecting the payment on an undercover buy, a 26-year-old gang member directed my agent to his 15-year-old girlfriend to get the drugs. The adult seller laughed, saying that if the police raided the event, the teenage girl would be the one left to face prosecution.
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Another investigation conducted by my office targeted rampant drug dealing at a rural high school. At the conclusion of the investigation, we arrested 27 juveniles and nine adults for sales of methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, and MDMA at or near the school. In a raid on a house directly across the street from the school, agents seized one-quarter pound of methamphetamine and two guns from two of the adults who were controlling drug sales at the high school.
Mr. Chairman, in my mind, there is no question that a sustained chemical attack occurs on our streets every day. Illegal drugs and their effects kill more than 19,000 Americans annually and the impact on our economy is estimated to be more than $160 billion each year. This continuous and unrelenting attack by international drug cartels, American street gangs, meth cookers, and neighborhood drug traffickers is equivalent in terms of lost lives to a September 11 tragedy every 2 months. We must continue our commitment to fighting these criminals as aggressively as we fight terrorists who have political motives.
The heroin sold on the street corner in San Francisco began as an opium poppy seed in the Mexican highlands. From field to vein, there's a network of criminals who know exactly what they're doing. This malicious intent must be confronted directly up and down the chain.
Tough drug laws such as the proposedas those proposed in the Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005 are essential weapons in the arsenal of every law enforcement officer. Strong penalties deter would-be sellers while providing the incentive for those arrested for drug crimes to cooperate with law enforcement, allowing investigators to reach higher into drug trafficking organizations in an effort to dismantle them. On a daily basis, State and local law enforcement use the threat of Federal charges associated with tough penalties to induce the cooperation of arrestees who are in positions to expose the chain of command of drug trafficking organizations.
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The task force model fostered by Byrne and HIDTA programs has dramatically increased the effectiveness of drug enforcement strategies over the past 15 years. When combined with strong penalties, such as those proposed by the Chairman's legislation, we get quality investigations and effective deterrents.
As law enforcement officers, we know that we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem. We must do everything we can to prevent first use by young people. We must embrace efforts, such as the President's Access to Recovery Initiative, to ensure treatment is there when it's needed. All children and all people in recovery must be protected from the purveyors of poison that often lurk in or near our drug treatment centers and in our schools.
That's why the proposal in the Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005 is critical to the safety of vulnerable Americans. This legislation would strengthen deterrence and provide a potentially helpful tool for State and local drug investigators.
On behalf of the 60,000 narcotic officers that the National Narcotics Officers' Coalition represents, I want to congratulate Chairman Sensenbrenner on reintroducing this important bill, and Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate you for inviting me here today and for taking the time to hear this issue. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Brooks.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brooks follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF RONALD E. BROOKS
Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Scott, members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify on the importance of protecting America's most vulnerable citizens from the dangers posed by illegal drug manufacturing, sales and use. My name is Ronald Brooks and I am the President of the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition (NNOAC) representing forty-three state narcotic officers associations with a combined membership of more than 60,000 law enforcement officers across the nation.
I am an active duty, thirty-year California law enforcement veteran with more than twenty-four years spent in drug enforcement. I have witnessed the death, disease, violence and devastation that illicit drug use regularly brings to individuals, families, and communities, and based on my experiences I'm happy to share my thoughts on the importance of the ''Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005.''
Although no one is immune from drug addiction, the lives most often destroyed by heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and other poisons are those persons already suffering from the disease of addiction who are in recovery, and young people who think that trying dangerous drugs is harmless. People in recovery are vulnerable because changes in neuro-chemicals brought on by prior chronic drug use make them more susceptible to relapse, and because the craving is constantespecially during the early stages of treatment.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Darryl Inaba, CEO of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco told me that the euphoric recall of persons in recovery is very strong and that smells, situations, or other temptations will often lead to the re-initiation of drug use. Because all drugs of abuse are synergistic, even marijuana may serve as the catalyst for a meth, coke, or heroin user to slip back into the bonds of a drug lifestyle. Because of that danger, the Haight Ashbury Clinic and all other drug treatment programs that I am familiar with prohibit drug and alcohol use on or near their facilities and by patients who are in treatment.
Dr. Inaba and Dr. Alex Stallcup of the New Leaf Treatment Center in Concord, California have told me that predatory drug sellers often lurk near drug treatment and recovery centers looking for customers who are susceptible to relapse. I have seen these predators firsthand in scores of investigations that I have conducted or supervised at or near treatment centers and Methadone clinics.
Even more vulnerable than recovering addicts are pre-teens and teens. Initiation of drug use by young people occurs every day in all types of communities without regard for race, gender or socio-economic background. Kids are likely to be lured to drug use because they lack the perspective of adults and because they feel pressured to identify with ''role models'' who glorify drug use and violence. Drug-abusing older siblings, friends, and parents are often terrible influences who many times even employ young people to act as middle-men in their drug trade. The damage this causes to a child's lifeand cumulatively to society as a wholeis incalculable and inexcusable.
My civilian friends often worry about the physical and emotional impact that thirty years of facing the danger of ruthless drug dealers has taken on me. The truth is, danger is not what takes a toll on America's law enforcement officers. What haunts police officers is the death, fear, economic despair, and ruined lives we see every day that is caused by drug abuse and drug-fueled violent crime.
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JUVENILES IN DANGER
The most troubling events witnessed by cops involve young people suffering from addiction or who are neglected or placed in danger as a direct result of illicit drugs. Drug enforcement officers are driven in their commitment to fight the scourge of drug abuse by recurring images of children languishing in dirty diapers, living in deplorable and dangerous conditions and suffering from malnutrition because their drug-addicted parents are unable to care for them. We are driven to face danger by witnessing impressionable young lives ruined when they are lured into a culture of crime by adults promising quick money. We see kids become dealers for adults, or lookouts who facilitate the drug sales operations of adults. And a disturbing all-too-frequent image is a frightened child rescued from the highly toxic and flammable environment of a methamphetamine lab.
I supervised a raid on a rural super-lab that was producing more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine per two-day reaction cycle. As we approached the house to execute our search warrant, a large cloud of highly toxic gas began to vent from the house. Upon entry into that dangerous environment, we encountered four armed meth cookers and an eight-month pregnant woman who along with her two small children had been in the house for the entire two-day reaction cycle.
During another lab raid, I found a teenage boy, a straight-A student, who lived with his father, a meth cooker, in a home where two separate chemical fires had flashed through the house threatening their lives but which were never be reported to the fire department for fear that the meth production would be discovered. That teenager was working to survive, despite the daily danger posed by chemical exposure, explosion, fire, and armed encounters with rival drug dealers.
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At a large RAVE event at the San Francisco Cow Palace, my agents were working undercover purchasing Ecstasy (MDMA) from the dealers that were preying upon the mostly teenage attendees. This followed an earlier RAVE where two young people had died from Ecstasy overdoses. In one drug buy, after collecting the payment, a twenty-five year old gang member directed the undercover agent to his fifteen year old girlfriend to get the drugs. The adult seller laughed saying that if the police raided the event, the teenage girl would be the one left facing prosecution while he walked away. In a subsequent undercover buy, a twenty-five year old woman directed an undercover agent to her fourteen year old brother to get the Ecstasy. She told the undercover agent that if the police stopped them, her brother would only go to juvenile hall but if she was caught with the drugs, she could face prison.
In an undercover operation conducted by my agents, a man agreed to deliver Ecstasy to an undercover agent. At the time of the arrest, the suspect fled in his vehicle and led officers on a high-speed pursuit, eventually crashing his car. As officers approached to make the arrest, they discovered that the suspect had his eight-month old daughter in the car. The man was arrested with more than 20,000 MDMA tablets, cocaine, a bullet proof vest and two 9mm pistols.
One investigation conducted by my office targeted rampant drug dealing at a rural high-school. At the conclusion of the investigation we arrested twenty-seven juveniles and nine adults for sales of methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, and MDMA at or near the school. In a raid on a house directly across the street from the school, agents seized one-quarter pound of methamphetamine and two guns from two of the adults that were controlling drug sales at the high school.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In a San Mateo County, California Narcotic Task Force investigation, a Burlingame High School groundskeeper was arrested when it was discovered that he was befriending students and bringing them to his house where he sold them marijuana and cocaine.
The problem of dealing drugs to recovering addicts at or near drug treatment facilities is the cruelest side of a cruel business: preying on the most vulnerable citizens when they are at their weakest. Those brave souls who are fighting their addiction in treatment and recovery programs are often targets of drug traffickers looking for an easy sale.
Many people in the Washington, D.C. area are familiar with the open-air drug market that existed in the parking lot of a McDonald's right next to the Model Treatment Program in Northeast D.C. A subsequent GAO investigation found that drug dealing was rampant in the immediate vicinity of treatment centers in numerous locations in Washington.
In a recent San Jose, California Police Department case, a city employee was fired after beginning to re-use methamphetamine after being enticed to do so by a person that was in her drug treatment program. This otherwise productive citizen, who was on her way to recovery, has again had her life torn apart by an amoral drug seller who cared more about making money than allowing the woman to succeed in treatment.
Within the past three weeks, the San Francisco Police Department began investigating a convicted drug dealer who served time in San Quentin Prison on state drug charges. The dealer is now operating the Happy Days Herbal Relief ''medical marijuana'' clinic on the ground floor of a hotel subsidized by the city of San Francisco that is being used as a halfway house by formerly homeless persons, many of whom are in drug treatment programs. This and eight other San Francisco ''pot clubs'' are not far from school campuses. San Francisco Police officials tell me that it is not uncommon for them to encounter teens who have purchased marijuana from one of these pot clubs and who are re-selling the marijuana to other school age kids.
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I could give more examples, and these types of stories could be multiplied by the 60,000 police officers represented by the NNOAC.
THE NEED FOR STRONG PENALTIES
On September 11, 2001, America was attacked by terrorists based in foreign lands. This attack resulted in the murder of almost 3,000 Americans. Because of the intensity and magnitude of that single attack, it is easy to lose sight of the chemical attack that occurs daily in cities and towns in every state in the nation. Illegal drugs and their effects kill more than 19,000 Americans annually and the impact on our economy is estimated to be more than $160 billion each year.
This continuous and unrelenting attack by international drug cartels, American street gangs, meth cookers, and neighborhood drug traffickers is equivalent to a September 11th tragedy every two months. We must continue our commitment to fighting these criminals as aggressively as we fight terrorists who have political motives. Tough drug laws such as those proposed in the ''Safe Access to Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005'' are essential weapons in our arsenal.
Vigorous enforcement of drug laws helps to keep families and neighborhoods safe from violent criminals and serves as a deterrent to first-time drug use for most young people. It also helps many addicts reach the road to recovery through drug courts and other corrections-based treatment programs.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Strong penalties deter would-be sellers while providing the incentive to those arrested for drug crimes to cooperate with law enforcement, allowing investigators to reach higher into drug trafficking organizations in an effort to dismantle them. On a daily basis, state and local law enforcement use the threat federal charges associated with tough penalties to induce the cooperation of arrestees who are in positions to expose the chain of command of drug trafficking organizations.
The heroin consumed on the corner of a drug-addled neighborhood in Washington, D.C. started as a seed capsule of an opium poppy plant in the Andes of South America. From field to vein, there was a network of criminals who knew exactly what their activities were leading to. When the street-level seller of that heroin is arrested, tough federal penalties help us climb up the organizational ladder and frequently lead to the dismantling of local and regional drug trafficking organizations.
Indispensable components our nation's overall enforcement strategy include tough laws and the multi-jurisdictional, intelligence-based enforcement approach that has developed under the system of task forces funded through the Byrne JAG and HIDTA programs. The task force model employed by these programs has dramatically increased the effectiveness of drug enforcement strategies over the past fifteen years which, when combined with the strong penalties such as those proposed by the Chairman's legislation, leads to quality investigations and effective deterrence.
The problem of drug abuse often seems insurmountable, but it is not. The proof of our ability to succeed in this important fight is the fifty percent reduction in drug use that occurred between 1979 and 1992 when America employed a balanced and comprehensive approach of drug prevention, treatment, and enforcement. We are once again on the road to achieving good results as we embrace a balanced approach and a renewed dedication to fighting against drug abuse.
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Although strong penalties for dangerous criminals are important, I understand that it is impossible to arrest our way out of America's complex drug problem. A strong and consistent education and prevention message must reach or kids early and often; and because addicts often love the drugs that consume their lives more than they fear prison, effective treatment must be readily available. But we must do everything we can to prevent first use by young people. And persons in recovery must be protected from the purveyors of poison that often lurk in our near drug treatment centers and sober living environments.
That is why the proposals in the ''Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005'' are critical to the safety of all citizens. This important legislation would strengthen deterrents and provide a potentially helpful tool for state and local drug investigators. The 60,000 members of the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition congratulate the Chairman on reintroducing the important bill and we stand ready to lend our support. Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Moriarty?
TESTIMONY OF LORI MORIARTY, THORNTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, THORNTON, COLORADO, COMMANDER, NORTH METRO DRUG TASK FORCE, AND PRESIDENT, COLORADO'S ALLIANCE FOR DRUG ENDANGERED CHILDREN
Ms. MORIARTY. Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee Members, first of all, thank you very much for the invite here.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am a Drug Unit Commander in Colorado, and I do represent the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, and I am the President of the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, and I can tell you from a Drug Task Force Commander's point of view, I've been in law enforcement for 18 years, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me that drug use is a victimless crime, and I'm here to tell you that it is the crime that creates the most victims. In all of my time in law enforcement, I didn't recognize this until I got into the drug investigations unit.
I actually did homicide crimes and crimes against children as a detective, and it was easy to recognize the bruises and the broken bones and call that child abuse. And when I got into investigation, it wasn't until I walked into some of these drug homes and recognized the violence that was occurring day in and day out in these children's lives.
As you mentioned earlier in my introduction, I've spent the last 2 years educating people across the State and actually across the Nation on meth lab awareness and the dangers, and the award that I actually won for ONDCP and HIDTA was for protecting law enforcement officers who actually went into labs day in and day out because of the toxic environment that it created. And throughout that time, my guys were wearing chemical protective clothing gear and self-contained breathing apparatus and we pulled out children wearing diapers. And it wasn't until then that I realized that the drug endangered environment that these children were living in was just horrific.
I speak to you today by telling you that it is really critical to have penalties that are severe enough to have people change their behavior. It is never acceptable to expose children to drug endangered environments.
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As I speak with you here today, my task force is out at a hotel, and we are raiding the entire hotel as an open market, and in the hotel are families that live there with their children, distributing drugs every day, and there are guns. We're alsoit's a RICO case and it has three homicides associated with that environment, and at no time did any of the drug dealers ever pay attention to the children that were living in that environment. Additionally, we had a grandfather, who every day when we watched him in surveillance going to do his drug trafficking, picked up his grandson and used the grandson as a decoy during his drug trafficking operations.
So the areas where people put children in harm isin drug trafficking is serious, and we need to pay attention to the environment that we're allowing these children to grow up in.
As a member of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, we have a mission to bring disciplines together to work on these exact issues, and accountability is a huge part of making the system work. If we can hold the caregivers and the parents who traffick around their children and put their children in dangerous environments, then it will assist in the totality of what we're trying to do to protect the children.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee Members.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Ms. Moriarty.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Moriarty follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF LORI MORIARTY
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to appear before you today on behalf of The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children as a Committee Member and as the President of The Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children to speak on the important issue of ''Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005.'' Though I cannot speak on all points covered in H.R. 1528, as a drug unit commander I can say that I have seen children of substance abusing parents suffer extreme neglect, physical, sexual and psychological abuse. The time has come to take notice and take action, not only in the law enforcement community but all professionals involved in the welfare of children.
When law enforcement officers in Colorado were just beginning to appreciate the devastating effects methamphetamine was having on communities and the users, the focus was to develop safe procedures to locate and seize methamphetamine labs. As law enforcement became sophisticated in the detection, seizure and arrest of these clandestine labs and their operators, what became astoundingly apparent was that the real victims of the crime were the children. Law enforcement quickly realized they were not equipped to address the special needs of the children found in these homes where the manufacturing was taking place and realized that other agencies should be involved to address the needs of the voiceless and innocent victims. In 2002, public and private agencies in Colorado came together to discuss the unique and pressing problems facing these children. The professionals agreed the issue was a crisis and required an immediate, multi-disciplinary response. Colorado reached out to California, where the first Alliance for Drug Endangered Children committee was established. Based on the Drug Endangered Children Program developed in Butte County California, members of the private and public agencies initiated, for the first time in Colorado, a group of professionals willing to assess and establish the best methods of collectively meeting the needs of the children. In 2003, Colorado established a non-profit organization, Colorado's Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and quickly collaborated with California and several other states where similar initiatives were being developed. Through these efforts The National Alliance was formed in 2003 to promote public awareness regarding the plight of drug endangered children and to link and support the many professionals that rescue, defend, shelter and support these children including law enforcement, child protective services, first responders, medical and mental health professionals, prosecutors and county attorneys, substance abuse treatment providers, community leaders and concerned members of the public.
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The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children recognized the scope of child endangerment went beyond children living where manufacturing was taking place but also included environments where children were exposed to drug trafficking and the drug subculture associated with the use, sale and possession of illegal drugs. The desperate plight of these children left behind must be addressed. The abuse and neglect of these children is not marginal but real and significant. These children are innocent, tragic victims who require special and immediate attention.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE GOAL
The National Alliance believes drug endangered children are victims who, when discovered during law enforcement actions or recognized by others to be in danger, require immediate intervention and support. We promote the concept of using collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams whose primary interest is the health and welfare of the child found in a dangerous drug situation. Thus, our goal is to ensure long term care as the child moves from the arms of law enforcement, to child welfare services and is medically and psychologically evaluated, and thereafter placed in an appropriate and safe living situation.
Over the last eighteen months, the National Alliance has focused most of its efforts on causing everyone to understand the harm posed to children in many different drug scenariosranging from methamphetamine or other clandestine labs, environments in which drugs are dealt, stored or packaged and in some instances, guarded with guns and other weapons, and those which are controlled by caregivers who are addicted to or so influenced by drugs that they lose their ability to provide even a minimum standard of care often neglecting and in many instances, actually abusing children. The National Alliance supports and endorses the National Drug Endangered Children Training Program. We also provide support and guidance to states as they form individual alliances and begin to form multi-disciplinary teams in their communities.
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CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
There are several aspects of child abuse and neglect in drug-endangered homes. The environments themselves are frequently so dangerous that simply allowing a child to live there constitutes child endangerment. Substance abuse also affects the caregiver's ability to parent, placing the child at additional risk for abuse and neglect.
Children whose caregivers are substance abusers are frequently neglected. They often do not have enough food, are not adequately groomed, do not have appropriate sleeping conditions, and usually have not had adequate medical or dental care. These children are frequently not well supervised, placing them at additional risk of injury. Children raised by substance-abusing caregivers are often exposed to pornographic material, often emotionally abused and have a heightened risk for sexual abuse. Additionally, they frequently do not get the appropriate amount of support, encouragement, discipline, and guidance they need to thrive.
Specific hazards to children living in these labs are numerous. The children are exposed to toxic chemicals and are at risk on inhalation of toxic fumes. Clothing and skin contact of improperly stored chemicals, chemical waste dumped in play areas, and potential explosions and fires (the specific risks of the different chemicals are outlined in the Clandestine Lab section) are also possible. They are frequently exposed to a hazardous environment which often includes accessible drugs, exposure to drug users, cooks and dealers, hypodermic needles within reach of children, accessible glass smoking pipes, razor blades and other drug paraphernalia, weapons left accessible and booby traps placed to ''protect'' the clandestine laboratory and its contents from intruders.
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The use of illegal drugs affects the caregiver's judgment, rendering them unable to provide the consistent, supervision and guidance that children need for appropriate development. Therefore, substance abuse in adults is a critical factor in the child welfare system. With specific reference to methamphetamine, children are frequently neglected during their caregiver's long periods of sleep while ''crashing'' from a drug binge. The caregiver's also frequently display inconsistent and paranoid behavior, especially if they are using methamphetamine. They are often irritable and have a ''short fuse'' which may ultimately lead to physical abuse. Children in these homes are often exposed to violence as well as unsavory individuals. Unfortunately, these caregivers were often not parented well themselves and therefore did not learn effective parenting skills. Finally, the caregiver's ability to provide a nurturing home for a child is complicated by the caregiver's own mental health issues which may have contributed to or resulted from substance abuse.
TESTIMONY OF A CHILD
It was five o'clock in the morning on October 23, and the street was empty. The house was dark where five undercover detectives were conducting surveillance, preparing for the execution of a search warrant on a drug lab. The traffic on the police radio had been silent. Suddenly, as SWAT officers began their initial approached from several blocks away, one of the detectives watching the house keyed the microphone of his radio and yelled for everyone to stop. As he spoke, everyone could hear the uncertainty and hesitation in his voice as he tried to describe what he was seeing. When the words finally came out he stated, ''There is a skeleton coming out the front door.'' As we processed the information, wondering if the detective was hallucinating after the long hours of surveillance, he went on to explain that the skeleton figure appeared to be the four-year-old child we knew was in this particular drug house. He further described how the boy was out onto the front porch looking up and down the street. As we discussed the child's behavior, he came back out onto the porch and began looking up and down the street again. Being narcotics officers the only explanation we could come up with was the possibility that he was counter surveillance and acting as a look out for his parents. With this information, we told the SWAT officers to move forward and execute the search warrant, using extreme caution.
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After the raid was over, the SWAT team placed several adults into custody and removed the four-year-old boy and another eight-year-old girl. During my interview with the boy I explained that I was curious why he was dressed in a skeleton outfit, standing on his front porch and looking up and down the street so early in the morning. His eyes lit up and he got excited as he explained that today was his Halloween party at school. His shoulders then slumped when he went on to tell me that he really wanted to go to the party but he hasn't been able to wake his mom up for the last few days and he didn't know where the bus stop was. He said that he thought if he got up early enough in the morning and put his costume on, he could just watch up and down the street and catch the bus as it drove by. I couldn't imagine at that moment that this child could educate me any more until I realized that he couldn't count to ten, but he could draw a picture, in detail, of an entire operational meth lab. To this day, my mind cannot erase the visual this four-year-old child left me with. I realized we had a responsibility to identify these children and work with other disciplines to meet their needs. Early identification can activate a multi-disciplinary response within our communities where all of us must work together as partners to rescue, defend, shelter and support the children.
In the year 2002 the National Clandestine Laboratory Database reported 8,911 clandestine laboratory seizures. Over ninety percent of these were methamphetamine production and over 2,078 incidents involved children. First responders and children alike are exposed to toxic and hazardous chemical exposure. Many of the hazards of this illicit process and the type of exposure have not been studied extensively, and are therefore unknown. According to the El Paso Intelligence Center, the increase of methamphetamine production has resulted in at least one methamphetamine laboratory in every state of the union in 2002. In January 2003, National Jewish Hospital and Research center began to study the harmful effects of methamphetamine labs to first responders and children through various methodologies, including: controlled lab studies, field controlled lab studies and surveys. The study expanded its scope throughout the year with results that may impact the way in which first responders and investigators perform their duties. Throughout the duration of this study, the spirit of collaboration and cooperation has been a predominant factor.
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The initial study concerns included the potential, exposures, related health concerns, medical monitoring, and the comprehensive use of personal protective equipment. Throughout the study additional questions arose regarding the airborne properties of methamphetamine, the decontamination process and the degree of danger to children.
The standards used for measuring exposure were those utilized for an occupational setting. These guidelines and standards are formulated based on a predominantly male workforce, 2030 years of age and healthy. These standards are not applicable to children, those with health conditions or pregnant women. To date, there are no suitable standards established regarding exposures to children during the production of methamphetamine. Therefore, a significant amount of future research is still needed in order to accurately determine the degree of dangers to children.
During the study, a teddy bear was placed in a room where chemists from DEA manufactured methamphetamine to determine the amounts a contamination produced. When the teddy bear was tested the results were alarming. The bear tested highly positive for methamphetamine and was extremely acidic. The methamphetamine levels on the bear were 3,100 ug/100 cm2 on the outer portion of the sweater and 2,100 ug/100 cm2 under the sweater, compared to the ''clean'' standard in Colorado, used to determine if a residence where a lab was discovered is acceptable for re-occupancy, which is .5ug/100 cm2. The pH level of the bear was 1.
For a full report on the results of the National Jewish Medical and Research Methamphetamine Study go to www.nationaldec.org
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCONCLUDING REMARKS
For decades, law enforcement teams across America have been fighting ''the war on drugs'' by arresting those responsible for the use, possession, trafficking and manufacturing of illegal substances. However, at no time during these battles did we recognize the neglect, the physical, sexual and emotional abuse to include the developmental and psychosocial issues our children were suffering at the hands of their drug-abusing parents.
It is most important that we send a clear message to those that chose to endanger children: It is never acceptable to expose children to drug environments and drug dealing and that there will be an additional price to pay if they do.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Brownsberger?
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM N. BROWNSBERGER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PUBLIC POLICY DIVISION ON ADDICTIONS, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Members of the Committee.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Brownsberger, a little closer to you, if you will, and activate it.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Let me try that again. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Scott. And thank you, Members of the Committee. I appreciate the invitation to be here.
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I'm the father of three daughters, a 10-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 16-year-old, and proud to tell you they're all growing up sober. I'm a member of the governing board of the community in which I reside and I'm committed to addressing the problems of youth substance abuse. I've been an Assistant Attorney General in the Special Investigations and Narcotics Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and there prosecuted drug dealers. I have done a good amount of research, and I guess that's what I owe my honor to be here today, is the research I've done on school zone sentencing and the profile of anti-drug law enforcement in Massachusetts.
I've also today practice as a defense attorney. I worked a lot in drug courts and I know what the damage of drug addiction is, what it does to people's lives, what it does to the lives of families. I'm also a defense attorney and I have the occasion to represent drug dealers who are charged with violations of these laws. All of these experiences have given me insight, and some of that insight may be helpful to the Committee.
The first issue I'd like to speak to is the issue of the geographic provisions of this bill, the provisions which would enhance penalties within certain geographic areas. You can call those areas drug-free zones. And the bill would expand the radius around zones, these zones that are protected, from 100 to 1,000 feet for some kinds of facilities, and then it would add a whole lot of new facilities in the form of drug treatment facilities, including, by the way, take note, individual drug treatment providers. So if a psychologist is providing drug treatment, there will be a 1,000-foot radius around that psychologist's facility.
Now, I understand that a lot of what we have to do in making legislative policy is to respond to rhetoric and to anecdotes because that's all we have, but this is a case, Mr. Chairman, in which we actually have the ability to put some fine numbers on what we're doing here and make a decision based on information.
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I have some slides, which I guess are not available to be up on the screens, but the first slide just shows an aerial view of the town ofcity of New Bedford, Massachusetts. And the second slide dots onto that using the geographic information from that community, the schools and parks. The green are the parks and the blue are the schools. As you can see, there are a number of them within this large downtown area.
When you put the 1,000-foot radii on themthat's the third slide showing the yellowthat shows the school zones, the drug-free zones around these facilities, and as you can see, they cover most of the downtown area of that community. Take note to the far left, the green plot there is a park and has a relatively small zone around it. That's because it's a 100-foot zone around parks in Massachusetts, whereas it's a 1,000-foot zone around schools. That's the way the structure of our law is in Massachusetts.
Now, you can imagine that if you add drug treatment facilities and video arcades and individual psychologists' offices to this map, the whole map will be yellow. That's a conjecture because we don't have that data. But it would be easy, in fact, for you to acquire that data before passing this legislation. It would be easy to identify a number of communities and see how this would actually work. But based on my experience, my knowledge of the density of these communities, my conjecture would be with a lot of confidence that every major metropolitan area in this Nation would be yellow, would be covered within these drug-free zones.
So the consequence of that legislation is not to push people away from any particular place but simply to multiply the penalties. If you wanted, Mr. Chairman, to protect drug treatment facilities, you'd be much better advised to use a much narrower radius, for example, 100 feet, and then people would know where they needed to stay away from. But this legislation will just serve to elevate the penalties generally.
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And I hope that's not the goal of the Committee because I do believe that these penalties are, in fact, high enough, if not too high. The impact of these penalties is, in fact, to raise the incarceration rate of young African American and Hispanic males. That's who is involved in the drug trade predominately in this country. That is, unfortunately, the reality. That's the color and the ethnicity behind that business today, just as every other business commonly may have an ethnicity that's more heavily involved in it. And if we put this law in place, you're just putting more of those young men in jail.
As a defense attorney, it's been my privilege to get to know some of these young men and they're not the animals that you might imagine. We're characterizing them as drug dealers. We're caricaturing these people. These are people that just have led into a role which they have no concept of what their other options in life are. I've talked to young defendants who say, well, it was stealing cars, robbery, or drugs, and I actually was kind ofI'm not the kind to rob people, so I went into drugs. That's the kind of conversation people have. They have no concept of where they can go.
And so this legislation is damaging legislation and I hope the Committee will study it a great deal further before taking any action on it.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Brownsberger.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brownsberger follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF WILLIAM N. BROWNSBERGER
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Mr. COBLE. And thanks to each of the witnesses.
We have been joined, ladies and gentlemen, by the distinguished gentleman from California, the distinguished gentleman from Florida, and the distinguished gentleman from Virginia. It's good to have you all with us.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I told you all at the outset, we will begin our questioning and we comply with the 5-minute rule, as well, so if you all could keep your questions terse, we would be appreciative.
Ms. Avergun, provide the Subcommittee with additional case information, if you will, regarding the hotel fire case involving meth cat, sometimes called cat. Was there a sentencing enhancement applied, A, and B, was there a sentencing enhancement available? Pull that a little closer to you.
Ms. AVERGUN. I'll just keep it on. I can tell you a little bit more about that case. In August of 2003, at a family resort, there was a fire involving a particular hotel room. The local department responded to the hotel. They discovered the defendant had started the fire while manufacturing a substance called methcathanone. There was a lab actually in his hotel room. The hotel roomthe hotel was part of a family resort. There were chemistry books and a jar of methcathanone already made.
The defendant pled guilty in that case. He was sentenced to 151 months in prison and 3 years supervised release and restitution for costs of the fire. The defendant received a significant sentencing enhancement due to his criminal history. However, he did not receive any kind of sentencing enhancement due to the fact that he had endangered children or families in the hotel room, in the hotel where he was. There were no guideline enhancements available because, right now, the law only provides for enhancements for the manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine. This is a completely different substance.
And any substance can bemany substances can be produced. Synthetic drugs are more prevalent now, and they can all be produced with relative ease by looking up recipes in commonly available places. This
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Mr. COBLE. Okay. I don't mean to cut you off, but I need to get to other witnesses.
Ms. AVERGUN. That's okay.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you.
Mr. Brooks, drug trafficking, as we all know, is violent business. Share with us, if you will, any experience you may have had with drug dealers employing violence, that is, that included the possession of firearms to protect the operation, to enforce the collection of drug debts, how kids may simply get in the way.
Mr. BROOKS. Mr. Chairman, I think it goes without saying that drug dealing is a violent profession. It's one where firearms, bulletproof vests, and other methods are readily employed. The biggest threat in drug dealing is in turf battles and in the collection of debts and in ensuring that people don't cooperate with law enforcement. That's frequently done by homicide or other violent means and kids do get in the way.
There is no discrimination against hurting children when there is violence in a home. We have had children caught in the crossfire of drug turf battles. And I could rely on one of my own personal experiences. A young gal that I went to high school with, shortly after I was a narcotic officer, she had decided to live with a drug trafficker. There was a rip-off, a theft at the home. She crawled under the mattress as the rip-off was occurring. Three shotgun blasts into the bed, killing her. This wasn't a person that chose to liveand she was an adult, she had made her own choice, but it wasn't somebody that had chose to involve themselves in the drug trafficking business. That can happen just as easily to any child caught in a drug house.
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Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Brooks.
Mr. Brownsberger, if I read you correctly, you seem to suggest that the goal of school zones is to move the drug dealing somewhere else. Would you not also recognize that the goal is to assure that traffickers who do engage, you know, ply their wares in a school zone will likely be awarded an active prison sentence?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I'm not sure, Mr. Chairman. I would assume the goal is to protect children. That's our overall goal, and the goal of punishing drug dealers is to keep them from endangering children.
Now, my work showed that about 80 percent of the cases in which the school zone statute was used involved transactions that occurred at night, on the weekend, or in the summer. They just didn't have anything to do with children, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Moriarty, I think I have time for one quick question. What promoted you to become a member of the Steering Committee of the National Alliance?
Ms. MORIARTY. When law enforcement started finding the children living in these environments, we realized that we couldn't do it alone, that just removing the children and then placing the caregiver in custody and, you know, holding them accountable for the position that they're putting the children in wasn't enough. We had to actually focus on the child. And so we realized that all of the disciplines need to come togethermedical, psychological, the social services, just a multitude of multi-disciplines, to actually be with the child and take him through the process.
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In Colorado, I can give you an example, we have 68,000 parents who are in some kind of treatment. I won't necessarily say recovery, but in treatment. And of those 68,000, there are 114,000 children. And so somewhere along the line, all of us disciplines need to come together to support the children.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you. I see my red light.
I want to recognize the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Avergun, the DEA is supporting the bill?
Ms. AVERGUN. The DEA supports certain provisions of the bill, yes.
Mr. SCOTT. And opposes certain provisions of the bill?
Ms. AVERGUN. We'd like to work with the Committee to fix certain provisions of the bill, yes.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Now, do you know what the prison impact would be, what the additional costs in prisons would be?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. AVERGUN. Mr. Scott, there would probably be some incremental costs which are fixed based on a fixed cost that Bureau of Prisons estimates of the costs of incarceration. However, two things that I would point out. The first is that we don't anticipate arresting entirely new classes of people as a result of this. These are people who would already be in jail. They are drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is already illegal, and much of this bill amends things that are already prohibited.
The second thing I would like
Mr. SCOTT. Wait. On that point, so you would not be arresting any new people, you would just be giving enhanced penalties to those who you already would have arrested anyway?
Ms. AVERGUN. There are some new provisions in this bill. For instance, distributing drugs in the presence of children is a new provision. But by and large
Mr. SCOTT. You could have gotten them for distribution of the drugs, period. If you know they've distributed the drugs in front of a child, you knew they'd distributed the drugs, so you would have gotten them anyway.
Ms. AVERGUN. Perhaps.
Mr. SCOTT. Perhaps?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. AVERGUN. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT. I mean, can you prove beyond a reasonablehave you got evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that they distributed drugs and that's an offense.
Ms. AVERGUN. That is an offense, depending on the quantity and the circumstances and whether law enforcement knew about it. But
Mr. SCOTT. Well, but if you don't know about it, you wouldn't know about it in front of a child.
Ms. AVERGUN. That's true.
Mr. SCOTT. So you've acknowledged that, basically, you're going to be giving enhanced penalties to those you would have arrested anyway. My question is, how much more is that going to cost in prisons?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't think that the incremental costs are that great. Those are fixed costs as estimated by the Bureau of Prisons. But I would like to add
Mr. SCOTT. Wait. Are they going to be in prison longer?
Ms. AVERGUN. May I finish my point? The costs to society for not incarcerating these people for longer sentences are far greater than the costs that it would impose on society for keeping them in jail for incrementally longer terms.
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Mr. SCOTT. So I understand your answer to be, you don't know how much more we're going to be spending in prisons if the bill passes?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't have the exact number, but that is a number that the Bureau of Prisons has estimated across the board.
Mr. SCOTT. What number?
Ms. AVERGUN. The amount that it costs, the cost of incarceration in a Federal prison across the board.
Mr. SCOTT. How much more would the implementationif we passed the bill, how much more are we going to be on the hook for, do you know?
Ms. AVERGUN. No, I don't.
Mr. SCOTT. Does it matter?
Ms. AVERGUN. Yes, it matters, but we have to weigh the costs to society of not protecting
Mr. SCOTT. Well, actually, we have to weigh the costs in spending it somewhere else, because all of the studies that we've seen have shown that if you put the money in prevention, you'll have less drug use going on and society will be better off than if you just increase the penalty for others. So we've got to know what our choices are.
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Ms. AVERGUN. I don't think that in passing this bill or enacting legislation that imposes additional penalties that that vitiates any efforts or any spending that the Government does on prevention or treatment. There are three parts to the President's National Drug Control Strategy, each an equal part.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, let me ask you, on that hotel case that you were talking about, what penalties were available to law enforcement for the people you caught?
Ms. AVERGUN. The defendant received a sentence of 151 months based largely on his criminal history.
Mr. SCOTT. And how much would he get if this bill had passed?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't know the quantities of the drugs involved. That would determine largely the amount of the sentence.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, he would have gotten 15 years under present law.
Ms. AVERGUN. He got 151 months, yes.
Mr. SCOTT. There's a provision in here, misprision of a felony, where you don't report a felony and you go to jail for it. That would include parents not turning in the children, if the children had purchased the drugs, they would be also guilty of a crime and they would be turned in with the rest. Has that ever beenthat's present law.
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Ms. AVERGUN. There is a crime called misprision of a felony and the section that you're referring to, 2(m), is one of those that the Department has concerns with and that we seek to work with the Committee to address.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Well, my time is just about up, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. If time permits, we may have a second round, as well.
In order of their appearance, I recognize the gentleman from Texas, the distinguished gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert, for 5 minutes.
Mr. GOHMERT. Well, thanks, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate not only being considered a gentleman but being considered distinguished. That was distinguished and not ex, wasn't it? I wasn't sure.
Mr. COBLE. If the gentleman will suspend, I even recognize myself that way sometimes, Mr. Gohmert.
Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just curious, are they still using pseudoephedrine in the cooks for meth? Anybody?
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. AVERGUN. Yes, sir.
Mr. GOHMERT. Okay. I was hoping they'd found another way, because pseudoephedrine keeps me from snoring at night and it's harder and harder to get, but anyway, with regard to the drug treatment facilities and schools provision, I realize the importance of protecting our children, the importance of drug-free zones, just like the importance of gun-free zones to protect our children. Let me direct this to Ms. Avergun.
You obviously are familiar, I'm sure, with the Supreme Court case of Lopez where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Federal gun-free zone around the school and said that that's the State right. The Feds don't have a right to come in. That's State law.
And, of course, understanding that with this Supreme Court that they have shown that they routinely may vote for something before they vote against it, or vote against it before they turn around and vote for it, they have a real problem with precedent, including their own precedenta little editorial comment therebut I'm curious. Do you see or even anticipate any Lopez-type problems with a drug-free zone around the school or a drug treatment facility?
Ms. AVERGUN. I regret to tell you that I'm not familiar enough with the Lopez case and haven't performed an analysis of the statute vis-à-vis Lopez, but I would be happy to get back to you and provide our position on that.
Mr. GOHMERT. Well, I'd be very curious about your position. When we're talking about cost and passing a law like this, we don't want to be just spinning our wheels, so I'd be very curious to see if you feel there's sufficient Federal nexus.
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With regard to comments about drug treatment and saving money from people being incarcerated, you folks have obviously a tremendous amount of experience, and we appreciate all your testimony. My own experience from handling thousands of criminal cases as a judge showed me that, if you just lock somebody up without any treatment and they have a drug problem or alcohol problem, you're going to probably see them againsome judge I am if I didn't. If you just treat somebody in a 30-day program, somebody was 99 percent likely to see them again as a judge, even up to 120 days.
It seemed that the most effective way to avoid my having to resentence somebody that I sentenced once, it was to make sure they were locked down for an extended period of time and forced to deal with their drug or alcohol problem. It seemed to me that the combination of those two working together were the best things we could do to ensure, number one, protection of society, children, and others being lured into that kind of life, and also punishment. You know the scenario.
But does anybody have any statistical evidence regarding these things we've been talking about to show that, in your opinion, or in your opinion, they justify not having incarceration in conjunction with drug treatment or having incarceration with drug treatment? Does anybody have any statistical evidence? I know we've been talking a lot about anecdotal evidence that each of you have.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Mr. Gohmert, there's good statistical evidence showing the relative cost effectiveness of a dollar spent on treatment as compared to a dollar spent on incarceration. Is that responsive to your question?
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Mr. GOHMERT. No.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I'm sorry. Then maybe I'm not understanding the question well enough, then.
Mr. GOHMERT. Okay, thank you. But with regard to the number of people who are sent to incarceration and have drug treatment compared to the recidivism rate of someone who simply gets treatment, because what you're talking about is different.
Mr. BROOKS. I don't have all of theprobably the level of statistics that you would like, but I could tell you overall that effective treatment programs are effective at the rate of about 55 percent. Those treatment programs that we have seen to be most effective are those administered by the drug courts that use sanctions, graduated sanctions, to keep their people in treatment, to incentive treatment, and when they use the power of the bench to do so.
And so we thinkmy organization thinks this bill is particularly important for that regard, but it's also important for another reason, and it's a little hard to put a dollar figure on it, and that reason is that we use these tools, then, to try to compel people to cooperate with law enforcement, to try to then allow us to reach up into these organizations, very complex, multi-State, multi-national organizations that, quite frankly, even though it's a seedy side of law enforcement, the use of informants, if we didn't have the tough Federal incentive to compel these informants, we would not reach in and break drug dealing organizations.
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When you go after the targets of opportunity on the street, you're cleaning up a street corner. But if you're going to really have an impact, in my 30 years of experience in drug enforcement, the way to truly have an impact is to hit the organizations, and to hit the organizations, you need information, and to get the information, you need the incentive.
Mr. GOHMERT. Carrot and a stick.
Mr. BROOKS. That's correct, sir.
Mr. GOHMERT. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman's time has expired. I thank the gentleman.
The gentlelady from California, the distinguished Ms. Waters, for 5 minutes.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman and Members, I came in a little late, but I rushed to get here because I think this is such an important subject that we're dealing with here today. I think all Members of this Committee, both sides of the aisle, are more than frustrated with the level of drug activity and the lack of effectiveness of our laws and our policies as they relate to drugs, those who abuse drugs, and those who sell drugs.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like very much to be able to join with my colleagues in limiting as much as we possibly can the sale of drugs near drug treatment centers, the exploitation of children, and the sale and transport of drugs, et cetera, et cetera. However, I think we may be mixing apples and oranges here as we deal with this issue. There needs to be, I suppose, a lot more discussion about mandatory minimum sentencing and the fact that mandatory minimum sentencing has proven to be just a terribly ineffective way of dealing with the violation of drug laws.
We in California, I suppose in other places around the country, are involved with drug courts and they are proving to be extremely effective. We have learned that with mandatory minimum sentencing, we find a lot of low-level drug dealers, young people who are not criminals, they're just stupid, and they think they're going to make some money dealing in a few rock crack cocaines. They end up in prison because the judges have no discretion, can't take into consideration first-time offense, can't divert them from the criminal justice system, cannot do anything to make sure that these young people don't become real drug dealers. And so this bill that we are discussing does not appear to take all of this into consideration.
Having said all of that, too, I suppose it's Ms. Avergun, in your written testimony, you stated that mandatory minimum sentences provide a level of uniformity and predictability in sentencing. Given what I've said, I want to address you and ask, is this what we really want in our sentencing policies? Doesn't uniformity and predictability impede on the role of the judge? Isn't it the judge's role to serve as a disinterested enforcer of justice, who at his discretion can consider mitigating circumstances and determinedetermining the appropriate sentencing for defendants? We've heard from a lot of judges. They don't like mandatory minimum sentencing.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And don't you think we should be involved in prevention and diverting people away from the criminal justice system, first-time offenders, young, 19 years old, first mistake, five grams of crack cocaine? Why do they deserve to have 5 years mandatory minimum sentence in a Federal penitentiary where they'll be thrown in with hard-core traffickers who probably will certainly divert them to being involved in drugs? Can you give me some insight on why
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady's time has expired, but you may answer the question.
Ms. AVERGUN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Waters, thank you very much for your question. There are situations where drug treatment is more appropriate than incarceration, and Mr. Brooks has testified that a combination of sanction-based demand reduction, that's what we call it in the Department, coupled with the threat of incarceration is one effective way to go.
However, mandatory minimums do provide uniformity. There are studies, one recently cited by Judge Cassell in the Wilson case, that said that there are a variety of studies that suggest that a drop in crime rate is attributable to mandatory minimums, and the Department of Justice abides by thatby those studies. That is a critical part of drug enforcement, and, in the drug cases, the Department of Justice believes that mandatory minimums are appropriate.
That's not to say that judges should never have discretion. That's not to say that treatment and prevention are not both critical components of the drug control strategy of which drug enforcement is the third part. But all play a part. In the majority of cases, the Department of Justice does believe, however, that mandatory minimums are appropriate and there are studies that suggest that they do deter crime.
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Ms. WATERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to see those studies, if we could have a formal request for them.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Avergun, can you respond to that and make that information available to the Subcommittee?
Ms. AVERGUN. I certainly can.
Mr. COBLE. I appreciate that.
The distinguished gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Forbes, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. FORBES. No questions.
Mr. COBLE. The distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I'll just pick up on my colleague from California. You know, that there are, I would suggest, Ms. Avergun, that there are more studies, of a substantial order of magnitude, that indicate that the relationship between minimum mandatories and their efficacy in terms of dealing with the drug issue is probably negative.
You know, I think that most people on this panel would seriously consider supporting this legislation but for, you know, implicating into thisexcuse me, Mr. Ranking Member, except implicating minimum mandatory sentencing. You know, this Committee is going to have to deal, you know, at some point in time with the whole issue of sentencing guidelines. You know, a good prosecutor is able to target, you know, those at the upper level, if you will, in terms of a drug syndicate. A good police officer knows who the individual is and in terms of presenting a sentencing report that the vast majority of judges would comply with and accept. It's just part of the job.
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You know, I just think it's unfortunate, you know, and I think that there's going to come a point in time when it will be opportune to take a look and see what's happened in the aftermath of Booker. That will give us some idea in terms of the guidelines. But, to shift everything now into minimum mandatories, I just don't think it's practical. I just really don't think it makes a lot of sense and doesn't get us anywhere in what I think is an objective that we all share.
So, you know, I think that's a message you can take back. I mean, at some point in time, Congress is going to be faced, too, I presume, with a request for more monies for the war on drugs as it is defined in Plan Colombia. What are we seeing in thelet me address this probably to Officer Brooks. How many addicts do we have in the country today, hard-core addicts that are responsible for a disproportionate numberhow many hard-core addicts
Mr. BROOKS. You know, when I was 40, I knew the answer to that question, but somehow after I turned 50, it's somewhere up in the recesses here, but I can't tell you.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Brownsberger?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. The truth is that no one knows because this is a hidden behavior and it depends on the model that one chooses and there are parameters in that model that are very hard to estimate. But the numbers that we've seen are anywhere between two and six million.
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Mr. DELAHUNT. Okay. I want toI think we all want results, whatever the mechanism is, and I think it's really important that the Department of Justice, working with academia, give us an idea before we continue to spend a lot of money in a wasteful way. Are we making a difference in terms of reducing the number of addicts in this country?
I agree with you, Mr. Brooks. I mean, I think I have, and I would hope at some point in time to convince the Chairman to come to Cape Cod, probably around the summertime, and sit and observe a drug court that we have there and a treatment center that we have there that is incredibly effective. We know the answers at this point in time. But you know, we needwe need some accurate data and empirical information, because we can't keep pouring money into initiatives that will not end upwill not allow us to sufficiently gauge whether we're winning. We don't know whether we're winning.
But I'm going to start asking that question on every dollar that we spend in terms ofon both sides of the equation, both the supply and the demand reduction side. We're going to start to need some good statistics. My memory was three million. Maybe it's just cocaine addicts. But, you know, we need to know that. We need to have benchmarks. And if we start to see a reduction in the number of addicts, we're going to see, I dare say, a huge reduction in terms of the incidence of drug-related crime.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman, and I thank you for your invitation to go to Cape Cod, Bill. I'll talk to you about that later.
Folks, with the indulgence of the witnesses and the indulgence of my members, let me make this proposal. We have two bills to mark up today and a reporting quorum is nine warm bodies. We have those nine. Often times, it's easier to get into Fort Knox than it is to get a working quoruma reporting quorum here, so if no one objects, I want to go ahead and mark these two bills up while we have the nine members here, and then we'll get back to the witnesses.
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Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object?
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman is recognized.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the right to object only to suggest that I understand what the Chairman is going to do. But with my experience both as Attorney General of the State of California, serving on the national commission established by the first President Bush on model State drug laws, and having, in my position as Attorney General, run the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement of the State of California, I feel inadequately prepared to vote on the bill today. So I'm just telling the Chairman that I would have some difficulty on this.
The Chairman must proceed as he must proceed. But frankly, Mr. Chairman, when Mr. Brooks, who used to be one of my top agents, testifies that the most effective thing we have done in California is with drug courts and I'm being asked to vote on a bill that largely occupies the field with no reference to the Federal courts for drug courts, I, frankly, have grave difficulty doing that.
So with that, I'll be happy to
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from
Mr. LUNGREN. I'll be happy to yield.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. Mr. Lungren, I willlet me float this out. You are referring, I presume, to the bill before us now, 1528.
Mr. LUNGREN. Yes, sir, I am.
Mr. COBLE. All right. We also have scheduled to mark up the gang bill. Do you have any problem with that, Mr. Lungren?
Mr. LUNGREN. I do not have
Mr. COBLE. Or does anyone have any problems with that? All right, why don't we move
Mr. SCOTT. I have problems with it, but I don't know if [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. And by the way, and this is a pertinent point that I failed to mention, I am told that there are no amendments to be submitted to either of these bills. Otherwise, I wouldn't have done this.
Well, let's move along, then, on the gang bill, and we will hold the bill before us, and I thank you, Mr. Lungren, for your comments.
[Whereupon, the Subcommittee proceeded to other business.]
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Hearing resumed after markup of H.R. 1528.]
Mr. COBLE. We can now return to business at hand and the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Keller, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. KELLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no questions.
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be brief, and I want to apologize to the panel for just arriving from my district a little while ago. I will review the testimony in full. I just have one question for Ms. Avergun, if I could.
We've heard a great deal about sentencing guidelines, but in terms of deterring drug trafficking and distribution, in your opinion, do you believe the mandatory minimums included in H.R. 1528 will be more effective than the sentencing guidelines, and if so, why?
Ms. AVERGUN. Thank you, Representative Chabot. The Department of Justice is happy to use all the tools in its arsenal to deter crime. Mandatory minimums deter crime and the guidelines, advisory though they are, deter crime. The threat of high sentences causes people to cooperate. There is no two ways about it. I was a line prosecutor for 12 years in New York and the threat of both the high guideline sentences and the mandatory minimums are what worked for a prosecutor. So there is no either/or here. They are both critical tools in a prosecutor's arsenal.
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Mr. CHABOT. Thank you very much. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from California, Mr.oh, I haven't recognized you, Dan? I'm sorry. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I want to welcome all the panelists here, particularly Mr. Brooks, with whom I had a working relationship for 8 years and who's an outstanding member of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement in the State of California and was involved in many different law enforcement enterprises and is very knowledgeable on this subject.
I happen to agree with him that we have an effective means by which we deal with a significant number of people that we find who are violating our drug laws, and that's the drug courts. I was one of those who was not in support of drug courts initially, but after reviewing them and seeing their successes and personally visiting a number of drug courts in California, I'm convinced of their utility. And I have some concern about the bill that's before us because I don't understand, frankly, how the drug court proposition fits into the Federal model currently, and maybe the representative from DEA could give me some advice on that.
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't think that we read this bill to preclude or exclude the applicability of drug courts. Drug courts are generally for users, people who need treatment
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Mr. LUNGREN. I understand that, but what I'm asking you is, do we have drug courts on the Federal level?
Ms. AVERGUN. There certainly are drug courts on the Federal level. There is sanction-based demand reduction as a critical component of the Federal drug strategy.
Mr. LUNGREN. And are the Federal drug courts available throughout the United States?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't have an exact number of where they are available, but they are available throughout the country. I just couldn't tell you in which Federal districts they are currently available.
Mr. LUNGREN. Okay. Mr. Brownsberger, as I understand it from the map that you've shown us, virtually that entire community would be covered if we extended it 1,000 feet, that is, locating schools, parks, and treatment centers.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Yes.
Mr. LUNGREN. My question to you is, do you find a utility in us having at least some measure of additional penalty, and therefore deterrent, around such places as parks, schools, and treatment centers?
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I think it makes sense, but it has to be at a much narrower radius.
Mr. LUNGREN. What would you suggest? You said you don't agree with 1,000.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. A hundred feet would be reasonable. That's a
Mr. LUNGREN. What would that take us in terms of blocks?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Half a block, a block. It depends on the size of the block. But that's sort of the areathat would keep people well off the premises. That would be a meaningful deterrent for preying on the people involved in those institutions.
Mr. LUNGREN. Well, if we're talking about schools, we're talking aboutor parks, we're talking about young people not only there but close to there, that is, on their way to and from. Does 100 feet make more sense than 1,000 feet if what we're trying to do is protect our children?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. It does, because 1,000 feetthis is just the schools. It doesn't include all those other things on that laundry list. But that covers most of the community. So the effect of 1,000 feet is to create the whole world as a drug-free zone, and, therefore, you're not giving any particular protection to your children. Your goal is to give particular protection to children, as I understand it.
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Mr. LUNGREN. Okay. Let me ask Commander Moriarty on that. Is there something in the notion that we should give enhanced protection to children by designating certain zones in communities that will allow us to give them additional protection by virtue of our definition, or would you support such a broad scope that an entire community would be covered, as is suggested by Mr. Brownsberger?
Ms. MORIARTY. Well, I think he's right when he states that the goal is to protect the children in the areas of the schools and the drug treatment facilities, and so, when we are doing our enforcement, it's actually more of an enhancement for the penalties to actually meet some of the sentencing enhancements to put some of the people in jail that we're using it for.
Mr. LUNGREN. Right, but what I'm asking you, conceptually, do you think that's a good notion? Is that a good enforcement tool that you do have certain defined areas you're telling the drug dealers to stay out of?
Ms. MORIARTY. I do. I do believe that that's important. I don't know that 100 feet is enough
Mr. LUNGREN. What if you have 1,000 feet and by application of the map
Ms. MORIARTY. Then you have everything
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LUNGREN.it covers everything. Does that defeat the proposition or do you think that still is worthy? I'm trying to figure this out and I'm trying to ask your help, because you're there doing it all the time.
Ms. MORIARTY. Well, sir, I can only answer that when we are within 1,000 feet of a school, it is a deterrence because the children are walking up and down that area. I mean, I see what we're saying as far as then the whole entire neighborhood becomes, or the whole city becomes covered under his map. But it is a tool that we use to keep people off of the property, and I do believe it is a deterrence.
Mr. LUNGREN. What do you think about drug courts?
Ms. MORIARTY. I think drug courts are an exceptional option.
Mr. LUNGREN. I don't know what that means. Does that mean good or bad?
Ms. MORIARTY. Good. In the State level for us in Colorado, I mean, there are times when we go into Federal sentencing, but more so when we get a chance to stay State and local, drug courts are a huge part of what the National Alliance is because it eventually can help the user and maybe bring the families back together.
Mr. LUNGREN. This bill has a mandatory minimum life sentence for someone who is over 21 convicted on the second time of dealing drugs to someone under 18, mandatory minimum life sentence. Ms. Avergun, is that appropriate? Would that help or not help us in our ratcheting up? I'm one of those who wants to ratchet up, but I want to know how far I should ratchet up.
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Ms. AVERGUN. I think it depends on a case-by-case basis whether it's appropriate.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Brooks?
Mr. BROOKS. I also agree, it is very appropriate in some instances where the person, where these drug dealers are extremely predatory and where they have a history of being predators, of using juveniles to facilitate, to be lookouts, to be sellers, putting them in harm's way, taking advantage of their vulnerability, their lack of sophistication, their lack of maturity. And so I think that's a decision for the prosecutor and the courts to decide when it's appropriate, and law enforcement, I also think it helps us.
Thinking back to many cases we did when I worked for you, where we used the threat of Federal sanctions, the threat of the tough penalties that we can impose if the case were filed federally, to then get cooperation, to develop informants, to get people to enter into pleas and to really be effective, it's a great tool for us.
There are studies in California and New Jersey that have shown that 76 percent of the kids that choose not to use drugs consider as part of that choice the fact that there are tough drug laws and tough sanctions. When they look at that, I mean, having drug laws aren't going to keep people from using drugs that are going to use drugs anyway, but they may help make people make good choices, those people that are willing to weigh their decision. So I think it is appropriate to have those sanctions available.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Brownsberger?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Mr. Lungren, thank you. I just wanted to add a little bit on that notion of 100 feet. These laws say 100 feet from the real property comprising the school, where comprise means enclosing the school. So you have a property in which there's a school sitting. Sitting 100 feet off of that property is pushing people off of all of the streets that surround that property. So 100 feet from the real property comprising the institution really does set people back quite a ways.
Ms. AVERGUN. May I supplement my answer on the drug courts? We were able to gather something quickly. There is one drug court in the Federal system. It is largely a State court product. However, there are 1,600 federally-funded drug courts. So the Federal involvement is on the funding level rather than on the option for incarceration
Mr. LUNGREN. No, I understand that. My concern is if I am here as a legislator making a decision as to what I'm going to tell the courts to do and this is in the Federal system and in the Federal system, I'm saying to the judge, there is one or two things you can do, but we don't have a Federal drug court, I don't know how I work that out, how I transfer that court to State and have them work it out.
Ms. AVERGUN. That can be done. In many instances, the Drug Enforcement Administration, for instance, works with State or Federal prosecutors. It's a matter up to the agency as to which way they steer their cases. If a case is more appropriate once it's in Federal court, there are mechanisms to dismiss a complaint in favor of a drug court option.
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Mr. LUNGREN. Would you object to us having more Federal drug courts? If we were to raise these penalties but at the same time have an option under certain circumstances that you could have a drug court option, would you object to that?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't think that anybody objects to the concept of drug courts. They are proven. I think that they are good for a limited class of people
Mr. LUNGREN. Right.
Ms. AVERGUN.most of whom are not targeted under this statute. This statute is really targeting those who violate our kids and who prey on our kids.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman's time has expired, and I recognize Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee, the distinguished lady from Texas. And after her questioning, then we will go for a second round, if there are other questions that need to be put to the panel. So the gentlelady from Texas, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the Chairman very much for his charity and I apologize for being in another meeting or discussion dealing with our position in Iraq. I thank the Ranking Member, as well.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let meI was listening to my colleague from California raise a question of, I think I heard, unreadiness. I don't want to put any words in his mouth. I know that there is a degree of unreadiness certainly on my part on thison several issues, and I know that we've already marked up the legislation dealing with the gang deterrence. Let me speak generally, Mr. Chairman, about these. I have amendments, but we may have to look toward doing these either tomorrow or on the floor.
I have supported mandatory minimums in the past on certain heinous and horrific acts against children. At the same time, I am cautious about the implementation of mandatory minimums by statute inasmuch as it does not allow the discretion that I think is appropriate to a court. It's unfortunate when the Supreme Court has questioned the mandatory minimums, which I find really wear out their welcome on non-violent criminals after a period of time, because after a period of time on non-violent criminals, all you do when you go to the Federal prisons is see individuals on 10-, 15-, 25-, 30-year sentencing based upon an action they did when they were 20 and they're now 35, 45, 55. They're filling up beds when they could be with their family, be rehabilitated. And so mandatory minimums does not cause me a great deal of excitement.
I think when we started looking at the methamphetamine issue and we were trying to clean that up in certain regions, it certainly gives us a reason to deal with that in a legislative manner.
What I see here, however, gives me pause because seemingly, what it does is if two individuals in a non-violent manner are engaging in some sort of drug trade, no matter how small it is, they wind up in a Federal system and under a mandatory minimum. And to me, that seems to be unreasonable inasmuch as we've seen crime go down. It does not respond to those who are really addicted, both the seller and the buyer, because the seller can be addicted, too, seeking to get some money. It has a heavy burden on minorities, particularly African Americans. We still have not cured, I think, the disease of incarcerating more African Americans than others as it relates to drug offenses, particularly under crack, and that's still the drug of proliferation.
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I don't see the rush to go forward with this withoutand I heard my colleague talk about Federal drug courts. I don't think we have any. I do know that in the Southern District, for example, the Federal court system is completely overloaded with immigration cases and criminal cases so that the civil cases in the Federal system cannot even get inside the courtroom door beyond four, five, or six years.
Crime, as I understand it, has gone down. But treatment beds have gone down, as well. So, we're not curing the problem. And we have legislation here that now adds an additional Congressionalexcuse me, criminal parameter, and, therefore, does not, to me, answer the solution.
I'm going to go back with Mr. Brownsberger. You were showing us the geographics. I'm raising some points that probably have been raised by my colleagues already, and I apologize, but I really want you to pinpoint the issue of a problem and then a solution. Are we at such a heightened problem that the legislation that is before us really answers the concern, or by passing the legislation, are we now creating enhanced offenses and then more incarceration and really not getting to the problem? Are we so devastated by individual drug dealers on street corners attempting to influence either those leaving a drug location or a treatment center or school that we need to put this heavy-handed legislation in place?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Thank you, Representative Lee. In my view, the law is very heavy already. We have very, very heavy penalties already. You have a lot of people spending a long time in jail. We have to remember that these are children. We're talking about protecting children, but a lot of these young men are children when they get into this trouble. They are 16, 17, 18, 19 years old. They are children still. And so the law is already heavy-handed enough. That's my general view.
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I've allowed as much as to say that if you targeted narrowly certain facilities, perhaps you could address a problem. I do believe it's a problem, the problem of drug dealers coming on the premises of methadone maintenance facilities, in particular. That's an issue.
By the way, I'd like to say, if the Committee were to go in this direction of passing this bill, it would have to dramatically narrow the definition of facilities involved. The definition of facilities here would include individual providers. It would be very hard to identify those and for anybody to know that they were anywhere near a psychologist's office who was providing drug treatment. So it wouldn't really have any benefit in that context.
But a methadone maintenance facility, that's something you have people lining up outside. That's something you might want to keep people away from. That's a reasonable thing to try to do.
I don't want to suggest that this is necessary to do that, though. I do believe that the task of enforcement is the task that people face and the laws are already heavy enough. They have mandatory minimums. They have heavy penalties and they can put these people in jail. The challenge is to put the police resources in place to move people away from those facilities. And I think, if you don't put those police resources in place, then you're just putting laws on the books. You're not actually doing anything. So, I think it's really a question of having the police resources in place to protect those facilities as opposed to locking people up for a longer period of time.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. May I, Mr. Chairman? Ms. Avergun, why don't you respond to that. Isn't it more reasonable, what Mr. Brownsberger has just said? It makes common sense to me. Enforcement is really the issue. What you're doing is, and you've got some outstanding staff persons down in Texas that I work with all the time. Let me applaud them, the DEA unit that's down in Houston, Texas, in particular. And they've got a big job. They're dealing with smugglers coming across the border. They're dealing with drug cartels, really major issues, and, of course, certainly they're dealing with sometimes street crime.
But, the point is, wouldn't it be more effective to give the resources to local law enforcement so that they know who is scouting out the methadone clinic, who is scouting out the school, as opposed to hampering us again with more time, more incarceration, and more one-time petty criminals selling whatever ounce it is and then they're locked up in the Federal system, which burdens the Federal system and allows them to be there for 30, 40 years?
Ms. AVERGUN. Certainly, more resources to the State and locals would be welcome to police these kinds of crimes. These people need our protection. But again, it's not an either/or proposition. There are cases where people prey on people coming out of clinics. It's not just a one-time deal. And, for those types of cases where we are dealing with organizational targets or higher-level suppliers who are taking the most opportunity of the most vulnerable victims, then that would be an appropriate Federal resource and appropriate use of the statute.
But it's not that we only have mandatory minimums and we target the one-time seller. It is a spectrum, a broad array of enforcement options starting from State and local resources up to careful targeting at the Federal level. But we do feel that these tools are needed in our arsenal.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. I don't think we've changed any of our drug laws over the past 20 years, and my understanding is that we really have a sufficient series of mandatory minimums on drug laws. In fact, we have, a number of us for a number of years, have been trying to bring equity to the mandatory minimums between cocaine and crack. That has not changed. So, apparently, these strictures are still in place. I can't imagine that they cannot be utilized for an indictment against those who would be part of a cartel. First of all, you have conspiracy, the ability for conspiracy.
You are going to wind up roping in, looping in addicted persons who need treatment as well as the one-times along with the two times and the three times, and these persons are known to be either with no alternative, which I'm not giving as an unilateral excuse, but no alternatives in areas where the educational system is at a near collapse, that these young people are out on the streets with no educational resources and background and left to their own devices. That's what we should be looking at and funding, alternatives toor as opposed to what we're talking about today.
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I yield back. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Ladies and gentlemen, let me divert one more time.
[Whereupon, the Committee proceeded to other business.]
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Hearing resumed for second round of questions, after markup of H.R. 1279.]
Mr. COBLE. Now we will return to regular order at the bill at hand. Folks, we're going to start a second round. I notice that Mr.well, Mr. Green has already gone. Mr. Scott, why don't you start on our second round.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. And let me ask the Members, folks, if you will, try to adhere to the 5-minute rule because we've kept our witnesses here probably longer than they expected, but it's still good to have you.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Brownsberger, you had said that you had some numbers on relative cost effectiveness of investing inthe little money we have with the result of reducing drug use. Do you want to just quickly recite some of those numbers?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Yes. There's a study that was
Mr. SCOTT. Just in general.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Thank you. There's a study that was done by Carnegie Mellonactually, I guess it was by Rand, Jonathan Calkins, Peter Reuter, a quantitative study that came out several years ago that made an estimate of the quantitative reduction in drug use associated with a million dollars spent on incarceration, a million dollars spent on treatment and so forth, and the ratio of benefits was about 7 to 1, as I recall, the treatment benefits to the incarceration benefits.
Mr. SCOTT. And mandatory minimums came in last place in that study?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Well, that's right, mandatory minimums that cause incarceration.
Mr. SCOTT. You said mandatory minimums was the least cost effective, then regular sentencing came in next, and far ahead was drug treatment for heavy users?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Actually, I have toas I recall the study, it didn't distinguish between mandatory minimums and incarceration generally. It just grouped those together, unless I
Mr. SCOTT. If you could provide that study, it would be helpful.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I will do that. Could I just follow that just for one moment? It's been said that this bill is compatible with drug courts, but really, this bill, it poses incarcerations which are so long that they make drug courts substantially irrelevant and they do that for crimes which really may havethat may be really committed by people who should be in drug courts.
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Mr. SCOTT. But we also have, I think, ascertained that there are no drug courts in Federal court, so if you use a Federal statute, you've got to be in Federal court to implement the Federal statute. So if you use the provisions of the bill, you're not going to be able to access drug courts anyway.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Exactly.
Mr. SCOTT. Let meMr. Brooks, you indicated the importance of treatment. Isn't it true there's no treatment in the bill?
Mr. BROOKS. I did not see any treatment in the bill.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. And the present penalties that you have available to you ought to be sufficient to hold over somebody's head if they're in State court to go to a drug court, to go to rehab?
Mr. BROOKS. Well, no, I think that these more aggressive penalties do give us a greater tool to incentas an incentive. But more importantly
Mr. SCOTT. Yes, but if you give them that incentive, you can't use drug courts because you're in Federal court under this bill without drug courts.
Mr. BROOKS. That's correct, sir, but mostly because this bill and the Federal drug prosecution statutes don't generallyaren't generally aimed at the persons that are eligible for drug courts anyway. Drug courts are more of a State court initiative because they are focused on drug users and persons that are on the fringe of the drug selling arena, not on persons that have met Federal thresholds and are fully involved in drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, drug smuggling.
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These Federal drug laws, including the tough sentences in this bill, these are for people that are predators that put children at great risk, that put their lives at great risk, and not people that are just using or addicted.
Mr. SCOTT. If you go get some for yourself and then you go get some for your friend, and as an accommodation, no profit, that's included in this, too, isn't it?
Mr. BROOKS. You know what, I'm not a lawyer, sir. I'm not sure.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Ms. Avergun, there are provisions in here for second offenses?
Ms. AVERGUN. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT. Is it a second offense if you haveif you're charged with a couple of crimes? In our localities, they have a sweep, you get caught in Newport News and also in the adjoining jurisdiction in Hampton, and you're tried in Newport News, this first offense. If you're tried in Hampton without having gone to jail in between, is that a second offense?
Ms. AVERGUN. I don't know how that would work under this statute, Mr. Scott. It would
Mr. SCOTT. Well, you've got life imprisonment if you get busted for that second offense.
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Ms. AVERGUN. Yes. There are very complex rules for what counts as a prior conviction to trigger these second offense
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Since we're talking about life withoutlife imprisonment without parole, is marijuana a controlled substance under this bill?
Ms. AVERGUN. Marijuana is a controlled substance everywhere.
Mr. SCOTT. So if you're in a circle and they're passing it around, that's all distribution. Get caught twice, what happens?
Ms. AVERGUN. Theoretically, that would beif you were convicted both times under this statute, that would be the mandatory life.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, how do you get a predicate offense to start off with that second offense? What are the predicate offenses?
Ms. AVERGUN. I can't tell you what all the predicate offenses are
Mr. SCOTT. Is marijuana a predicate offense?
Ms. AVERGUN. Any drug felonyfor purposes of the predicate felony statutes, any drug felony is an initial offense.
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Mr. SCOTT. Is it other felonies? It's not a misdemeanor?
Ms. AVERGUN. Not a misdemeanor, no. It would have to be
Mr. SCOTT. Where is that?
Ms. AVERGUN. I think it's in section 851 of title 21, not in this statute.
Mr. SCOTT. Not in this bill, because this bill just talks about controlled substances.
Ms. AVERGUN. That's what the law is.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. So if I could, Mr. Chairman, I just want to know, if you are distributing marijuana or distributing cocaine amongst friends and get busted, that's first offense. And, if the arrests come in two different busts or two different jurisdictions, you're not sure whether or not the second conviction would give you life without parole or not under the bill?
Ms. AVERGUN. I can't tell you under your facts whether the first counts as a conviction that would count as a first conviction to trigger the second conviction. I'm just notI don't think that that's been thought through enough by any of us at the Department of Justice to tell you
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Mr. SCOTT. Well, you don't have to worry. What we've thought through is we took a poll, and this bill will help us get elected. That's about all we need to know.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Lungren.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If I understand the gentleman from Virginia's question, it's the lifemandatory life sentence
Mr. SCOTT. Two strikes and you're out.
Mr. LUNGREN.on two strikes. But as I understand it, as I read the bill, it would have to be the same offense. That is, a 21-year-old, someone over 21 selling to someone under 18. So not other
Mr. SCOTT. Two fraternity brothers.
Mr. LUNGREN. Two fraternity brothers, one over 21 and one under 18. I hope we wouldn't have Federal prosecutors going after that.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCOTT. I think they
Mr. LUNGREN. But let me ask a question. Ms. Moriarty, you talked about meth and how it was an eye opener to you, what it meant to children. When I was out in California, we had an expression which was meth use equals child abuse. Some of the worst child abuse cases I ever saw or read about were those involving meth users.
And then the other thing was what you had mentioned was that there wasn't direct physical abuse by the parent to the child. We found great levels of exposure to methamphetamine or its predecessor elements in the children when they did physical examinations.
What have you found to be the most effective way of dealing with that? In other words, and I know this generalizes, but in these cases where you find children on the premises with their parents who are dealing meth, do you find any sense of responsibility with those parents, any remorse, anywhat I'm trying to get at is what do you think, from your experience, would be the most effective means of deterrence to those parents when they're exposing their children to the meth environment?
Ms. MORIARTY. I would say, Mr. Lungren, on the onset of that, when we first arrest them, exactly what you said. We call methamphetamine the walk-away drug, that they literally walk away from everything in their life, to include their own life. They don'tI mean, incarceration at that point isn't even an issue. I have had several of those that we arrested actually thank law enforcement for taking the first step in changing their life by putting them into custody, and it does go hand-in-hand with what we're trying to do with the National Alliance, is to, you know, drug court is important, and if they're going to be part of a family again and get clean, there needs to be consequences at the same time. So we have found that consequences have actually meant something.
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But at the very beginning, I've never seen an environment that is more dangerous than those of meth users. The paranoia alone, the fact that they don't eat. I've walked into homes where they haven't fed their children for weeks, and so it's reallyit's just a sad, hideous, hazardous environment. But like I said, at the beginning, there's no recognition to anything. They've literallywe've had addicts give their children away, and so that's what we see.
Mr. LUNGREN. See, my biggest concern is the kids. I would hope that we could salvage the parents, but it seems to me in those cases the chances are better that we can salvage the kids than salvage the parents. I would love to salvage the whole family unit. My question is, what tools do you think we need to have in the Federal system to try and do that, first to save the kids, and then secondwell, first of all, do you think it's important, is it possible in your experience to salvage a family unit under those circumstances?
Ms. MORIARTY. I do believe that it's important to always try to salvage a family unit. I think that the childrenyou know, because they're not great parents, they're still their parents, and I think that that's a significant impact that we need to have on their lives is as to how to bring the family back together. I think
Mr. LUNGREN. So what tools do we need? What tools would you recommend, based on your experience, that have been effective from the Government's standpoint to help achieve that?
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Moriarty, as brief as you can because the time has expired, but go ahead.
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Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Chairman, my red light was on as soon as I started questioning. I don't know what happened, but anyway
Ms. MORIARTY. I think that we need to bring, I don't know ifI speak from a local level and from doing law enforcement and from the Alliance for Children, but I think bringing multi-disciplines together. These children need some psychological help. I mean, medical, they need treatment themselves. They need to understand that this is not their fault, and they're our next generation of users. And so I think that that's part of our prevention, that is, if we don't put some effort and energy into the children, we're just creating, like I said earlier, the next 114,000 that are high-risk at use for using drugs, if we don't start intervening in their lives and get them socially connected and put somebody in their lives who can help change that.
Mr. COBLE. Dan, you are correct. Your light was on, so I think you still have a couple minutes.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. COBLE. I stand corrected.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Brownsberger?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I'd appreciate the opportunity to respond to that, as well. I mean, I, as a drug court attorney, work with a lot of mothers and fathers who are addicted and have lost their children and have neglected their children and deeply regret that they neglected their children. Clearly, their children are victims.
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Number one, as a response, this isn't primarily a Federal problem. This is a problem for the State and local social services, number one.
Mr. LUNGREN. But given the fact we're going to have a Federal presence.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Well, I'm notif you take that as a given, I'm not sure that's the right given.
Mr. LUNGREN. Okay, but let me tell you, we're going to have a Federal presence
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Okay. Well, in that
Mr. LUNGREN. and I'd like to know what the best one is.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I would advocate that presence include active support for treatment for children and for treatment for parents and for treatment facilities in which children can be with their parents, because believe it or not, a lot of these children still love their parents. Ripping those parents away, sending them for 10 years for the neglect that they've committed really isn't necessarily part of the solution.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Brooks?
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BROOKS. I agree with Commander Moriarty. It's really important that we have the tools to intervene, and it's important that we keep the family unit together, but we're not always going to keep the family unit together. That's the ultimate goal. But, first and foremost, we have to protect those kids. So we have to get the child protective services folks in. We need to get the psychological folks in. We have to get the medical folks in and make sure that we're taking care ofI mean, these are ticking time bombs. We don't really know yet what the full effect of having these children unprotected in these toxic environments for years and years, what the full medical effect is on them. We might have sentenced them to death and not even known it yet.
And so it has to be a multi-disciplinary approach triggered by law enforcement when they enter that lab site, bringing psychological services in, bringing child protective services in, helping to reintegrate the family, but understanding that we're not always going to reintegrate the family and sometimes we just have to then salvage those children.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. And I apologize to you, Dan. I didn't realize the clock was defective.
The gentlelady from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, point of personal privilege.
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady is recognized.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. The gentlelady was kind enough to allow me just toI was unavoidably detained when the Committee voted on, I believe, H.R. 1528, and I would like to ask unanimous consent that my vote of ''no'' be placed in the record at the appropriate place.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection, it will be done.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And I was unavoidably detained on H.R. 1279, the ''Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005,'' and I'd like to have my vote of ''present'' be acknowledged and placed in the appropriate place for H.R. 1279. I ask unanimous consent.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection, it will be done.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. And the gentlelady from California is recognized for 5 minutes. Let's get the clock working. Set that clock at 5 minutes. Thank you, Mike.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Sometimes, I think we really don't know what's going on out there in the streets of America, both in our cities and our towns. We talk about these children of drug-addicted parents, and I heard some references to the children of parents who are addicted on meth. But whether it is meth or crack cocaine, these children are extremely vulnerable. They are neglected. Oftentimeswell, there is nothing like seeing children who actually live in a crack house. I've seen it. There's nothing like seeing children who are living with a mother who is crack addicted. In the streets, they refer to them as strawberries, and they're capable of committing almost any unimaginable act in order to get crack cocaine, they're so addicted.
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I have seen many of these children grow up in these environments, and many of them are gang members. And I think the most dangerous gang member in America is one who has experienced their mother on crack cocaine and have seen what happens to her in that environment. All the safety nets are pulled out from under them and, really, there's nowhere for the children to turn. Nobody really cares. Nobody does anything for these children.
When the mother ends up dead or in prison, and if there's a mate involved, both of them dead or in prison, if they're lucky, there is a grandmother. The grandmother gets no support from the State to help with these children, and many of the gang members end up being young people who gather together and live in vacant houses or with each other and they become the family, and they're very, very dangerous. They are capable of killing because their rejection and their pain is so profound, so difficult. But America doesn't understand any of this and does nothing about it.
So it's almost a joke as we sit here and we talk about mandatory minimum sentencing and we talk about whether or not we lock up parents who abuse their children who are drug addicts. I mean, come on. There's a great disconnect here about what really goes on out there.
I've seen it. I understand it. I'm extremely frustrated about it. And this kind of legislation does nothing to help it. There needs to be support for children whose parents are drug addicted in several ways, and you're absolutely right. Many of them love their parents until they die, until the parents die before their very eyes, are taken away to prison, and they don't know what to do about that.
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Where do we see anything that will provide the kind of support for children of crack-addicted parents dealing with them while they're still in the houses with some of them, or when they have been removed, or when the parents die or go to prison? There's just nothing in the system that I see.
Foster care, maybe, when children are taken away, and when they're thrown into these foster care settings, basically, they end up perhaps still vulnerable to what is happening in the neighborhoods that they are relegated to in these foster care situations where they have these kind of problems.
So I know my time is up, but let me just try and talk about, if I may indulge for one moment, about these HIDTAs, or the drug areas that are supposed to be targeting resources to deal with drug trafficking and all of that. Can anybody here explain to me what a HIDTA is, and how it works, and how they get formed, and how they get chosen, and what they're doing? Yes, sir, Mr. Brooks?
Mr. BROOKS. Yes, ma'am, I can. The HIDTAs, there are 28 around the country. They are Congressionally designated and certified by the Director of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy. It brings together, using some Federal dollars and State and local dollars, Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers in a collocated setting with a strategy mostly to focus on drug trafficking organizations, those organizations at the upper end. But it also provides support to State and local law enforcement working street and mid-level traffickers, as well.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Every HIDTA has an intelligence center so that the law enforcement officers there work smarter and better. Every HIDTA has technical equipment available. But the biggest thing is, the HIDTAs are managed by balanced boards, eight State and local officers and eight Federal officers. That balanced approach gives the State and local law enforcement agencies the feeling of partnership, and what the HIDTA really does, what it has truly succeeded in doing is it's brought together law enforcement agencies that traditionally would never talk together, never work together
Ms. WATERS. Are they successful in reducing drug trafficking and drug addiction in, let's say, Los Angeles, in the South Los Angeles area? You're from that area.
Mr. BROOKS. Actually, I'm from San Francisco, but I am from California
Ms. WATERS. Okay.
Mr. BROOKS. It absolutely is.
Ms. WATERS. It is. How?
Mr. BROOKS. Because when you're able to drive price up, drive availability down, drive the social stigma, and takeHIDTAs are focused at the organizational level, not at the street level but at the organizational level, where they're able to take down cartel-based, using a partnership between DEA and the other Federal law enforcement agencies, in your area the LAPD and the L.A. Sheriffs, Hawthorne Police Department, you know, all of the 44 agencies in Los Angeles County. They come together in big initiatives like L.A. Impact, using information run through the L.A. clearing center, and are able to focus, then, on those big organizations.
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Tom Constantine, who was the DEA Administrator for a number of years, 6 years, just told me over dinner the other night the biggest cases that they were able to do in the Los Angeles area, big organizations, started, although DEA often managed those cases, they started out of one of the L.A. HIDTA-run initiatives.
And so, ma'am, it brings together a disparate group of agencies. It makes them all talk the same language under the same roof with a coordinated strategy, and they truly do work, in my opinion.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I just want to tell you this. For those of us who are watching what I described to you, don't feel the effectiveness of these bureaucratic agency HIDTAs that you just described. We don't feel it. We don't see the drug dealers being taken off the streets. We don't see you stopping the flow of drugs into these communities.
Crack cocaine has destroyed and devastatedand continues to do socommunities throughout this country, and many of the gangs survive based on dealing drugs, and you guys don't know anything about itnot you guys, but that's a generic ''you guys.'' There's nothing happening to break it up. There's no undercover operation that's helping to identify where these drugs are coming from and how they're getting in there, and we suffer. We suffer throughout these communities. We're so damned tired of it.
Mr. COBLE. The
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WATERS. And when I sit in these Committees and listen to us talk to each other, it just blows my mind that we don't know what the heck we're doing. I'm justI've had it up to here.
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. Brooks, there are 28, do you say
Mr. BROOKS. Twenty-eight HIDTAs with and counting the partnerships along the Southwest border. Thirty-three divisions, but 28 designated HIDTAs.
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I mean, clearly, you can see the frustration that I know we all share.
I want to go back to my earlier point about the number of addicts in the country, and I think it was you, Ms. Avergun, that indicated two to six million.
Ms. AVERGUN. That was Mr. Brownsberger.
Mr. DELAHUNT. It was Mr. Brownsberger.
Ms. AVERGUN. But he's right.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DELAHUNT. But he's right, two to six million. I think that what we heard, the frustration of my friend from California, is we're operating in the dark. Let me put a premise out, that the vast majority of drug-related crime is committed by drug addicts. I don't see how we can effectively measure whether we're succeeding unless we develop a methodology that allows us to more accurately assess whether we're successful through a combined coherent strategysupply, demand. There are great programs out there. We know that because we know it anecdotally.
But, I mean, I believe the first place to start, and I would hope that the chair and this Committee at some point in time would just simply seek to have a paneland this is an excellent panelthat would talk about the methodologies of how we measure success or lack thereof so that we can pass and support a coherent legislative approach and appropriate the necessary funding as opposed to simply just taking a stab.
I mean, you know, heroin use is up in the Northeast. We can't use just simply the standards of availability and price. We've got to get to the heart and soul of the matter, which is reducing the number of individuals that are addicted to drugs. That's the heart and soul, in my opinion. I'd be interested in hearingMs. Moriarty?
Ms. MORIARTY. Mr. Delahunt, if I might, I think you bring up a great question, and that is something that the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and all of the States that have alliances are looking at, as well, is how are we measuring success and how do we know if we're doing anything to change the lives of these children.
So when we sat down as a group of multi-disciplines, to include treatment, law enforcement, social services, the judicial system, psychologists, we started trying to determine how do you measure if a child is coming successfully or safely out of these environments and not growing up to be our next drug addicts and falling into the same system. And part of the measurement that we were feeling could be something that we could look into is obviously that that's being taken into consideration is the reduction of recidivism into the system.
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You know, if drug courts are working, and, therefore, when they're under arrest and they've been put into a court and then they don't get back, or the education, kids that are now graduating from high school instead of dropping out in school, and the reduction of recidivism into the social services system, because social services is carrying the huge burden of all of this
Mr. DELAHUNT. Correct, but that's the beginning of establishing a set of criteria to measure if we're effective.
Ms. MORIARTY. Correct.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Okay? I mean, that's the issue. If we have six million addicts in this country today and we can reduce that figure to 500,000, we will see a tremendous decline in the number or the incidence of all violent crime in the country.
Ms. MORIARTY. Absolutely.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. I'd just like to endorse absolutely what you're saying. There's a strong argument that the amount of crimeif you multiply the number of crimes that drug addicts, who are interviewed, admit committing, times any estimate of the number of drug addicts, you get more than the total number of crimes that are reported in this country, and so there's every reason to believe that drug addiction accounts for the vast majority of acquisitive crimeslarceny, robbery, prostitution, all those crimes that generate income. And so they are the best community-level measure, perhaps, of the success of an anti-drug program.
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Mr. DELAHUNT. Well, we have a Drug Czar, and I asked our other panelists in theyou'll indulge me just for another minute, Howard. I mean, we have a Drug Czar. We've had a series of Drug Czars under both Administrations. I'm not going tothis is absolutely non-partisan. But I would hope that within that office, there would be an effort, okay, to establish criteria, and the one that you allude to, Commander Moriarty, I think makes really good sense, the recidivism rate, and tracking. We should have long-term studies going on, and we should be able in real time, on an annual basis, we should have a report, Mr. Chairman, from the Drug Czar on an annual basis to come before this Committee to report on the number of addicts in this country. That is a single statistic that translates into so much. We can talk mandatory sentences. We can talk prevention. We can talk treatment. But you know what? We're going on our gut. We're going on our gut.
Ms. AVERGUN. May I add something?
Mr. DELAHUNT. Sure.
Ms. AVERGUN. The Drug Czar puts out the National Drug Control Strategy, and part of the National Drug Control Strategy is reporting results of the President's and the Administration's drug strategy. One of the important factors that is measured in the Monitoring the Future Survey, which is a survey done of eighth, tenth, and 12th graders and drug use. And, as you may know, in 2002, the President established national goals for reduction of drug use, and, in fact, we all together, working together in all our different areaslaw enforcement, treatment, preventionhave achieved success in that. There is a measure of success.
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The survey showed that since 2002, there's been an 11 percent decline in drug use, and this year, up to 17 percent decline
Mr. DELAHUNT. Okay, and that's important, but again, getting backthis is the Subcommittee on Crime.
Ms. AVERGUN. Yes.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Crimedrug crime is committed by drug addicts in this country, and that has to beif we're going to make our streets safer, let me suggest this. That has to be the target population that we deal with in terms of a substantial reduction in the level of violence. I know there's all kinds of social reasons, et cetera, for that. I mean, we can talk about future use and that.
But I would likeI would hope, okay, that the Administration, and I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that we could just have a panel on the methodologies. You know, Mr. Lungren asked some very good questions. I think this isI mean, everybody is saying here, give us parameters. Give us some hardbecause, if you listen closely to Congresswoman Waters, she's not feeling it. She wants to see hard data. We can't talk just about availability with driving the price down. We're going to be asking this Congress, what's your opinion? Should we vote to support what's happening in Colombia or should we better spend it on drug treatment programs or social services or building more prisons here? I don't know.
But I want toyou know, I spent 20-plus years myself in law enforcement, so I understand the problems of law enforcement and the need to do something on the supply side. But you know what? We don't really know, and we're not going to know until we're in a better position to ascertain the number of addicts.
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Mr. COBLE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Folks, as you can tell, this hearing today has generated much interest.
Mr. SCOTT. Did you want to answer that?
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Only if the
Mr. COBLE. Go ahead, Mr. Brownsberger.
Mr. BROWNSBERGER. Thank you. I really just wanted to emphasize, the number of addicts is a very, very hard number to measure and it's not one that we will ever achieve consensus on because it is a hidden behavior. And I would just suggest to the Committee that the best measure of the number of addicts in a community is the property crime rate. That's how you see them, is through property crime, and so that is a very good metric and one that I have recommended to the use of the fighting back communities, the communities that had community projects to develop strategies againstto reduce drug use. I consulted those communities to develop their methodologies to measure their success, and that was my recommendation to those communities
Mr. COBLE. Well, as I said earlier, and I thank you, Mr. Brownsberger, this has attracted much attention. Oftentimes, Mr. Scott and I will be the only Members here, and I don't say that critically because there are other hearings conducted simultaneously. But this has promoted much interest, and I'm sure it will not expire after we adjourn.
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This problem, folks, and I think every Member has expressed it, I think illegal drugs has the potential of bringing this country to its knees unless we can get a firm handle on it.
I thank the witnesses for your testimony. The Subcommittee very much appreciates your contribution.
In order to assure a full record and adequate consideration of this important issue, the record will be left open for an additional submission for 7 days from you all. By the same token, if Members have written questions, they need to submit their questions also within that same 7-day time frame.
This concludes the hearing
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady is recognized.
Ms. WATERS. I'd like to also requestI requested Ms. Avergun to give us the information from those studies. She also talked about an 11 percent success rate. It just blows my mind. I don't believe it. But I'd like to have that study, also. I want to know where that information came from.
Ms. AVERGUN. Surely, Representative Waters.
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Mr. COBLE. That'll be forthcoming.
Ms. AVERGUN. Yes, that will.
Mr. SCOTT. And Mr. Chairman, we can putdo we have time to put items in the record by unanimousdo we need to do that now, or is the record open?
Mr. COBLE. The record will be open for 7 days.
The Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:16 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CATHERINE M. O'NEIL, ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND DIRECTOR, ORGANIZED CRIME DRUG ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCES, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM, AND HOMELAND SECURITY, JULY 6, 2004
Mr. Chairman, Representative Scott, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify before you today regarding the Justice Department's views on H.R. 4547, Defending America' Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004.
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Protecting vulnerable victims from drug dealing predators, particularly those who would exploit human weakness by preying on persons afflicted with addictions to drugs or on those who, because of their youth and immaturity, are particularly susceptible to influence, is a laudable goal and one the Department of Justice fully endorses. Last year, Congress made significant strides by enacting the PROTECT Act, a law that has proved effective in enabling law enforcement to pursue and to punish wrongdoers who threaten the youth of America.
The Act now under consideration takes Congress'commendable efforts even further by focusing on the scourge of drug trafficking in some of its most base and dangerous forms: trafficking to minors or in places where they may congregate, and trafficking in or near drug treatment centers.
Endangerment of children through exposure to drug activity, sales of drugs to children, the use of minors in drug trafficking, and the peddling of pharmaceutical and other illicit drugs to drug treatment patients are all significant problems today. One need only consider the following few examples:
In 2003, 3,625 children were found in the approximately 9,000 methamphetamine laboratories seized nationwide. Of those, 1,040 children were physically present at the clandestine labs and 906 actually resided at the lab site premises. Forty-one children found were injured. Law enforcement referred 501 children to child protective services following the enforcement activity.
According to the BBC, a 12-year-old drug mule living in Nigeria swallowed 87 condoms full of heroin before boarding a flight from London to New York. He was offered $1,900 to make the trip.
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In ''Operation Paris Express,'' an investigation led by the former U.S. Customs Service, agents learned that members of the targeted international drug trafficking organization specifically instructed couriers to use juveniles for smuggling trips to allay potential suspicions by U.S. Customs. On one smuggling trip, two couriers, posing as a couple, brought a mentally handicapped teenager with them while they carried 200,000 Ecstasy pills concealed in socks in their luggage.
More recently, ''Operation Kids for Cover,'' an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation in Chicago and elsewhere, uncovered a cocaine smuggling group that ''rented'' infants to accompany couriers, many of whom were drug addicts themselves, who were transporting liquified cocaine in baby formula containers.
In Vermont, prosecutors convicted drug dealer, Michael Baker, for selling cocaine to, among others, high-schoolers. A sophomore honors student who got cocaine from Baker began using extensively and started referring friends from his peer group to Baker in exchange for drugs. This honors student never returned to high school for his junior year.
As reported in the Washington Post, between 2000 and 2002, more than 200 persons were arrested here in Washington, D.C., for distributing diverted prescription drugs and other illicit drugs in a parking lot that abuts one of D.C.'s largest methadone clinics and is within three blocks of several other treatment facilities. The dealers in that open air market took advantage of the drug treatment patientsenticing them with illicit substances and undermining any progress that had been made on their road to recovery.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously prosecuting drug trafficking in all of its egregious forms, whether it be a top-level international narcotics supplier or a street-level predator who tempts a child or an addict with the lure of intoxication or the promise of profit.
We have had some successes. Statistics maintained by the Department of Justice Executive Office for United States Attorneys indicate that, in the last two years alone, we have had over 400 convictions under Title 21, Sections 859, 860 and 861, of persons engaged in drug activity involving minors. Moreover, statistics maintained by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicate that, between 1998 and 2002, approximately 300 defendants were sentenced annually under the guideline that provides for enhanced penalties for drug activity involving minors or in protected locations. But our tools are limited. And we have no specific weapon against those who distribute controlled substances within the vicinity of a drug treatment center.
The people who would sink to the depths of inhumanity by targeting their trafficking activity at those with the least ability to resist such offers are deserving not only of our most pointed contempt, but, more importantly, of severe punishment. The Department of Justice cannot and will not tolerate this conduct in a free and safe America, and that is why the Department of Justice stands firmly behind the intent of this legislation to increase the punishment meted out to those who would harm us, our children, and those seeking to escape the cycle of addiction.
I would like to spend a few minutes talking specifically about mandatory minimum sentences and, in particular, the mandatory minimum sentence provisions of H.R. 4547.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Justice Department supports mandatory minimum sentences in appropriate circumstances. In a way sentencing guidelines cannot, mandatory minimum statutes provide a level of uniformity and predictability in sentencing. They deter certain types of criminal behavior determined by Congress to be sufficiently egregious as to merit harsh penalties by clearly forewarning the potential offender and the public at large of the minimum potential consequences of committing such an offense. And mandatory minimum sentences can also incapacitate dangerous offenders for long periods of time, thereby increasing public safety. Equally importantly, mandatory minimum sentences provide an indispensable tool for prosecutors, because they provide the strongest incentive to defendants to cooperate against the others who were involved in their criminal activity.
In drug cases, where the ultimate goal is to rid society of the entire trafficking enterprise, mandatory minimum statutes are especially significant. Unlike a bank robbery, for which a bank teller or an ordinary citizen could be a critical witness, typically in drug cases the only witnesses are drug users and/or other drug traffickers. The offer of relief from a mandatory minimum sentence in exchange for truthful testimony allows the Government to move steadily and effectively up the chain of supply, using the lesser distributors to prosecute the more serious dealers and their leaders and suppliers.
The Department thinks that mandatory minimum sentences are needed in appropriate circumstances, and we support the specific mandatory minimum sentences proposed in H.R. 4547. These sentences are entirely appropriate in light of the plight of drug-endangered children throughout this country.
SPECIFIC PROVISIONS WITHIN H.R. 4547
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I would now like to turn to some specific provisions within the proposed legislation that the Department of Justice finds particularly noteworthy and offer some comments which might prove useful as the Committee continues to consider this bill.
Before doing so, however, I must reserve opinion, in light of Blakely v. Washingtona Supreme Court case decided just two weeks agoon those sections of the bill which propose to directly amend the sentencing guidelines, Having reserved opinion on the particular language of these sections, I will say that the Department of Justice supports the concepts and policies behind the proposed legislative amendments.
Section 3 : Fairness in sentencing: assuring traffickers in large quantities of drugs receive appropriate sentences and denying double sentencing benefits
The Department of Justice favors eliminating the guidelines offense level limitation that applies to drug traffickers who play a mitigating role in the offense. We believe that there is no need for such an offense level ''cap'' and that the federal statutes and the otherwise applicable sentencing guidelines appropriately allow for the consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors. Moreover, we believe that, in most cases, the controlled substance quantity is an important measure of the dangers presented by that offense because, even without other aggravating factors, the distribution of a larger quantity of a controlled substance results in greater potential for greater societal harm than the distribution of a smaller quantity of that substance.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We acknowledge that the Sentencing Commission has undertaken to lessen the impact of this offense level cap. Pursuant to proposed guidelines amendments submitted to Congress and published in the Federal Register in May of this year, the Commission would apply a higher cap to the initially higher offense levels. For the reasons set forth above, however, we do not believe that this proposal sufficiently addresses our concern that the significance of drug quantity be adequately taken into account and the defendant not receive multiple benefits based on his lesser role in the offense.
Section 5: Conforming guideline sentencing to conspiracy law
We agree that the scope of accountability for co-conspirator conduct under the sentencing guidelines should be coextensive with such accountability for purposes of criminal liability generally. We also agree that a conspirator can be held accountable for acts of co-conspirators, in addition to his own conduct. Defendants, therefore, should be accountable for all conduct occurring during the course of the conspiracy that was reasonably foreseeable and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Section 6: Assuring limitation on applicability of statutory minimums to persons who have done everything they can to assist the Government
We strongly support the proposed amendment to 18 U.S.C. §3553(f), insofar as it would require Government certification that the defendant has timely met the full disclosure requirement for the safety valve exemption from certain mandatory minimum sentences.
We certainly understand the concerns that prompted this proposal. Our prosecutors rightfully complain that courts often settle for minimal, bare-bones confessional disclosures and, in some cases, continue sentencing hearings to afford a defendant successive tries at meeting even this low standard. The Department of Justice thus is aware that some courts and defendants have too liberally construed the safety valve and have applied it in circumstances that were clearly unwarranted and where no beneficial information was conveyed. For these reasons, we strongly support the prosecutor certification requirement.
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Requiring courts to rely on the Government's assessment as to whether a defendant's disclosure has been truthful and complete would effectively address the problems prosecutors have encountered with respect to application of the safety valve.
Section 9: Assuring judicial authority consistent with law in sentencings
The Department has a number of concerns with regard to the proposed amendments to Rule 11. Notably, we have been working with Committee staff to alleviate such concerns and look forward to continuing this dialogue.
Section 10: Mandatory detention of persons convicted of serious drug trafficking offenses and crimes of violence
The Department agrees with the principle that, in almost all circumstances, a defendant who has been found guilty should be immediately detained. We also acknowledge that the circumstances in which release pending sentencing or appeal is necessary are extremely limited. Nevertheless, we cannot support this proposal to the extent it requires Government certification as to a defendant's cooperation and precludes release pending appeal. Even with sealed pleadings, a defendant's intention to cooperate would be much more apparent under this provision, and this likely would have an adverse impact on a defendant's willingness to cooperate, on the value of the cooperation, and on the safety of the defendant. By foreclosing the possibility of release for circumstances other than cooperation and, thereby, telegraphing a defendant's intention to assist the Government, this proposal would severely diminish the value of one of our most useful investigative and prosecutorial tools. Moreover, this is a tool that we employ not simply post-conviction but, sometimes, pending appeal as well. A prosecutor should not be prohibited from seeking release after sentencing, if the particular circumstances of the case so warrant.
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We again thank you for this opportunity to share our views. I will be pleased to answer any questions the members of the Subcommittee may have.
ARTICLE ENTITLED ''DRUG MARKET THRIVES BY METHADONE CLINICS,'' SERGE F. KOVALESKI, WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST, August 12, 2002
ARTICLE ENTITLED ''PROBE CONFIRMS DEALING OF DRUGS NEAR D.C. CLINICS,'' MONTE REEL, WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST, July 7, 2004
ARTICLE ENTITLED ''KIDS CAUGHT IN METH LAB PRESSURE COOKER,'' SARAH HUNTLEY, NEWS STAFF WRITER, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, March 15, 2002
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SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL FROM WILLIAM N. BROWNSBERGER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PUBLIC POLICY DIVISION ON ADDICTIONS, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
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SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL FROM LORI MORIARTY, THORNTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, THORNTON, COLORADO, COMMANDER, NORTH METRO DRUG TASK FORCE, AND PRESIDENT, COLORADO'S ALLIANCE FOR DRUG ENDANGERED CHILDREN
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BROCHURE SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR DRUG ENDANGERED CHILDREN
POSITION PAPER OF THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA)
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LETTER FROM COALITION OF ORGANIZATIONS EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS ON H.R. 1528, ''DEFENDING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE: SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2005,'' TO THE HONORABLE F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., AND THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR.
LETTER FROM FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIALS EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS ON H.R. 1528, ''DEFENDING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE: SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2005,'' TO THE HONORABLE F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., AND THE HONORABLE BOBBY SCOTT
LETTER FROM THOMAS W. HILLER, II, CHAIR, LEGISLATIVE EXPERT PANEL, FEDERAL PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY DEFENDERS, TO THE HONORABLE HOWARD COBLE, AND THE HONORABLE BOBBY SCOTT
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LETTER FROM TEACHERS OF LAW EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS ON H.R. 1528, ''DEFENDING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE: SAFE ACCESS TO DRUG TREATMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2005,'' TO THE HONORABLE F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., AND THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR.
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LETTER FROM FRANK O. BOWMAN, III, M. DALE PALMER PROFESSOR OF LAW, INDIANA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, TO THE HONORABLE HOWARD COBLE, AND THE HONORABLE BOBBY SCOTT
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RESPONSE TO POST-HEARING QUESTIONS FROM LORI MORIARTY, THORNTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, THORNTON, COLORADO, COMMANDER, NORTH METRO DRUG TASK FORCE, AND PRESIDENT, COLORADO'S ALLIANCE FOR DRUG ENDANGERED CHILDREN
RESPONSE TO POST-HEARING QUESTIONS FROM RONALD E. BROOKS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NARCOTIC OFFICERS' ASSOCIATIONS' COALITION (NNOAC)
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