SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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NO SECOND CHANCES FOR MURDERERS, RAPISTS OR CHILD MOLESTERS ACT OF 1998
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 17, 1998
Serial No. 146
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Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHRIS CANNON, Utah
JAMES E. ROGAN, California
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
MARY BONO, California
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
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
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
PAUL J. MCNULTY, Chief Counsel
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Counsel
NICOLE R. NASON, Counsel
DAVID YASSKY, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
September 17, 1998
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McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
Brown, Jeremy Ann, South Nyack, NY
Easterling, Trina, Slidell, LA
Edwards, Mark, Esq., Santa Ana, CA
Gonzalez, Louis, Newfield, NJ
Klaas, Marc, Sausalito, CA
Salmon, Matt, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arizona
Vincent, Mary, Santa Ana, CA
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Brown, Jeremy Ann, South Nyack, NY: Prepared statement
Easterling, Trina, Slidell, LA: Prepared statement
Klaas, Marc, Sausalito, CA: Prepared statement
Salmon, Matt, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arizona: Prepared statement
NO SECOND CHANCES FOR MURDERERS, RAPISTS OR CHILD MOLESTERS ACT OF 1998
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1998
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:20 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Mark Foley, Van Hilleary, and Jon D. Fox.
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Staff present: Paul J. McNulty, Chief Counsel; Aerin D. Bryant, Research Assistant; Veronica Eligan, Staff Assistant; and Melanie Sloan, Minority Counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN McCOLLUM
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order.
Today we will examine issues related to the bill H.R. 4258, the No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998.
Too often in our criminal justice system, dangerous career criminals are released into the community when they should have remained in prison. Each year, a substantial number of violent criminals are caught, convicted, and released immediately or shortly after a very brief prison sentence.
These are offenders who are serially placed in custody and released back to the streets, undersupervised or not supervised at all. If statistics hold true, two-thirds of all offenders arrested this year for a violent crime will have had at least one prior arrest. Forty percent will have had at least 5 prior arrests.
Convicted sex offenders are particularly problematic, as more than half will be arrested for a new crime within 3 years of their release from prison. The sad truth is that the majority of these offenders victimize children. The lack of accountability in our criminal justice system, particularly for murderers and rapists, destroys innocent lives.
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No loss is more tragic than a preventable loss. As a society, we endure far too many preventable deaths, preventable rapes, preventable sexual assaults. It should not be so. If we are serious about cutting violent crime, we must do more than just release murderers and rapists every few years, only to let new victims pay the price for the failures of the criminal justice system.
The bill we are considering today is one proposal to end the revolving door of justice for such offenders. H.R. 4258, the No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998, would levy a penalty against a state after it has released a violent offender who has served his sentence if the sexual offender subsequently commits a new crime of violence in another state.
If this second crime occurred, the bill would require the U.S. Attorney General to transfer up to $100,000 from the first state's Federal crime-fighting grants to the second state. The first state would also be responsible for paying to the second state the cost of apprehending, prosecuting, and incarcerating the offender.
[The text of the bill, H.R. 4258, follows:]
H. R. 4258
To penalize States that release individuals convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense involving a child under the age of 14.
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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JULY 16, 1998
Mr. SALMON (for himself, Mr. SCARBOROUGH, Mr. LIVINGSTON, Mr. GILMAN, Mr. TRAFICANT, Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. RILEY, Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania, Mr. PAPPAS, Mr. HILLEARY, Mr. HAYWORTH, Mr. LOBIONDO, Mr. SAXTON, Mr. BOB SCHAFFER of Colorado, Mr. PITTS, Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland, Mr. NEUMANN, Mr. KING, Mr. ENSIGN, Mr. FOX of Pennsylvania, Mr. FOLEY, Mr. MCHALE, Mr. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. WELLER, Mr. CUNNINGHAM, and Mrs. FOWLER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To penalize States that release individuals convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense involving a child under the age of 14.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ''No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998''.
SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
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(1) any individual convicted of murder should receive the death penalty or be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole; and
(2) any individual convicted of rape or a dangerous sexual offense involving a child under the age of 14 should be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.
SEC. 3. PENALTY FOR STATES THAT RELEASE CERTAIN FELONS.
(1) IN GENERAL.In a case in which a State convicts a person of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense, who has a prior conviction for one of these offenses in another State, the Attorney General shall administer the transfer of the following amounts from Federal law enforcement assistance funds of the State that convicted such person of the first offense:
(A) Up to $100,000 shall be transferred to each victim (or if the victim is deceased, the victim's estate) of the subsequent offense.
(B) The cost of incarceration, prosecution, and apprehension of such person shall be transferred to the State that convicted of a subsequent offense. Half of the amounts transferred shall be paid to the State entity designated to administer crime victim assistance, and half shall be deposited in a State account that collects Federal law enforcement funds.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (2) MULTIPLE STATES.In a case in which a State convicts a person of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense, who has a prior conviction for one of these offenses in more than one State, the Attorney General shall administer the transfer of the following amounts from Federal law enforcement assistance funds of each State that convicted of a prior offense:
(A) Up to $100,000 shall be apportioned equally among the States that convicted of prior offenses and transferred to each victim (or if the victim is deceased, the victim's estate) of the subsequent offense.
(B) The cost of incarceration, prosecution, and apprehension of such person shall be apportioned equally among the States that convicted of prior offenses and transferred to the State that convicted of a subsequent offense. Half of the amounts transferred shall be paid to the State entity designated to administer crime victim assistance, and half shall be deposited in a State account that collects Federal law enforcement funds.
(b) STATE APPLICATIONS.To receive funds under this section, the chief executive of a State shall submit an application to the Attorney General in such form and containing such information as the Attorney General may reasonably require, including a certification that the State has convicted a person of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense, who has a prior conviction for one of these offenses in another State.
(c) SOURCE OF FUNDS.Any amount transferred as a result of subsection (a) shall be derived by reducing funds from Federal law enforcement assistance programs received by the State that convicted of the first offense. The Attorney General, in consultation with the chief executive of the State that convicted of the first offense, shall develop a payment schedule.
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(d) CONSTRUCTION.This section shall not be construed to diminish or modify any court ordered restitution.
SEC. 4. UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION.
The United States Sentencing Commission shall amend the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to provide that
(1) whoever is guilty of murder, as defined in section 6 of this Act, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for life; and
(2) whoever is guilty of rape or a dangerous sexual offense, as defined in section 6 of this Act, shall be punished by imprisonment for life.
SEC. 5. COLLECTION OF RECIDIVISM DATA.
Pursuant to guidelines established in the Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988 (Public Law 100690), the Attorney General shall collect and distribute data to the President, Members of the Congress, State governments, and officials of localities and penal and other institutions participating in the Uniform Crime Reports program which includes
(1) the number of murders, rapes, and dangerous sexual offenses committed by persons previously convicted of one of these offenses; and
(2) the percentage of cases in which a person convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense in one State commits a second offense in another State.
SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.
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(1) MURDER.The term ''murder'' means the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, and includes murder
(A) perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing;
(B) committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, burglary, or robbery; or
(C) perpetrated from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any individual other than the individual who is killed.
(2) RAPE.The term ''rape'' includes the carnal knowledge of an individual forcibly and against the will of such individual.
(3) DANGEROUS SEXUAL OFFENSE.The term ''dangerous sexual offense'' means sexual abuse or sexually explicit conduct committed by an individual who is over the age of 18 against a child under the age of 14.
(4) SEXUAL ABUSE.The term ''sexual abuse'' includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child under the age of 14 to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.
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(5) SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONDUCT.The term ''sexually explicit conduct'' means actual or simulated
(A) sexual intercourse, including sexual contact in the manner of genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or of opposite sex;
(D) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person or animal; or
(E) sadistic or masochistic abuse.
(6) SEXUAL CONTACT.The term ''sexual contact'' means the intentional touching, either directly or though clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify sexual desire of any person.
The bill would require that half the amount transferred to the second state would be allocated to its state victims' assistance fund, and the other half deposited into an account that collects law enforcement assistance funds and distributes them to state and local law enforcement agencies.
While I have several questions about exactly how the bill will be implemented and exactly what effects this proposal would have on our state criminal justice system, I think we can all agree that we must take steps to ensure that the worst of the worst offenders are held accountable for their crimes and be prevented from repeating their offenses.
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I expect today's witnesses will paint a grim picture of just how much the lack of accountability in our criminal justice system affects the lives of law-abiding citizens in our country.
I particularly want to thank Congressman Matt Salmon for his hard work on this legislation we are considering today. He has campaigned tirelessly for this creative reform of the criminal justice system.
I would also like to welcome our witnesses who are joining us from all over the country to share their personal tragedies and to lend their support for this legislative proposal. I also appreciate your willingness to be flexible, as we have had to work around quite a bit of the busy schedule of the Committee on the Judiciary, and we are still doing that to hold this hearing today.
Unfortunately, we don't have my other colleagues here today to introduce for statements because, as I should put on the record, we are currently in an executive session of the full Committee on the Judiciary in this building with regard to the Ken Starr report.
Because of the seriousness and gravity of that matter, I am quite sure that any delay or postponement of this hearing could befall the same kind of problems down the road, so I think it is important to have this hearing go on today. I intend to spend as much time as I possibly can to make sure that this hearing is completed, and that every witness here has a chance to make their statement to the public, and we have quite a bit of the media here today to make a case for this legislation.
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I can assure you that I will make certain that my colleagues on this subcommittee are fully apprised of the contents of what your testimony is today, and should the situation not be sufficient for the kind of impact with them that we need to have, we will find a way to have another hearing.
However, this Congress is short, Mr. Salmon as well knows, we need to proceed with this hearing today.
With that, I want to introduce our first witness. In fact, I will introduce the panel.
Our first witness is Congressman Matt Salmon for the First District of Arizona. He is the primary sponsor of the bill under consideration in today's hearing, the No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998. He is currently serving on the Science and International Relations Committees.
Joining Mr. Salmon this afternoon, our second witness is no stranger to this subcommittee, Mr. Mark Klaas. He is the father of 12-year-old murder victim Polly Klaas. We have had the privilege of having your testimony on a couple of occasions, very positive testimony, always, in every case. We really appreciate, frankly, the contribution you have made, not only today, but that you are making, period, to a number of issues related to children and crime.
Our next witness is Ms. Jeremy Ann Brown, who hails from South Nyack, New York. Ms. Brown is the sole surviving victim of the serial killer who began his killing spree after being paroled in Pennsylvania. Since the attack, Ms. Brown has worked with the New York criminal justice system to improve the state parole system, improve interstate communications agreements, and to make other important changes to procedures during rape trials at the state level. Ms. Brown is a credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor with many years of experience in this field. We certainly appreciate your being willing to come do this.
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Our next witness is Ms. Trina Easterling from Slidell, Louisiana. She recently lost her 11 year-old daughter Lorin, allegedly to a perpetrator who had served time in a Wyoming prison for rape. Ms. Easterling is awaiting the trial of her only child's killer. We are again very appreciative of your willingness to be on this panel.
Next is Mr. Mark Edwards. Mr. Edwards joins us from Southern California, where he is a senior partner of Edwards & Hayden in Santa Ana. He is a board-certified civil trial advocate and Orange County Trial Lawyers Association. He received his juris doctorate from Western State University. He is a civil trial lawyer representing crime victim Ms. Mary Vincent, who is seated next to him.
In 1978, when Ms. Vincent was only 15 years old, she was kidnapped and brutally raped and mutilated by her attacker. Ms. Vincent was living in seclusion in the Pacific Northwest until 1997, when her attacker resurfaced in the news of a murder of a woman in my home State of Florida. Ms. Vincent testified in the sentencing phase of her attacker's murder trial, and now lives in Southern California, where she does volunteer work. She is the mother of two children. Again, we are very appreciative of you being willing to come forward and be here today with us.
Our final witness is Mr. Louis Gonzalez, the brother of slain police officer Sergeant Lee Gonzalez. Born in New York, he is a former marine, and currently owns a tire, truck, and auto repair business in Franklin Township, New Jersey. He is married and has two children.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, I would like to take the testimony. I will say that all of the actual statementsand there are several you have made that I have before me todaythe complete text of those statements will be entered into the record, without objection.
You may summarize. Because we have a large panel, I do not wish to restrict you in any way, but I am going to let Mr. Salmon go forward, and then I would like to have each of you try to restrain your testimony within roughly a 5-minute period. If you have to go longer, if there is a particular reason, we want to hear the full story.
You are the only panel here today, so I am not going to be very strict about that. I think you all just need to use some of your own judgment on it.
Mr. Salmon, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. MATT SALMON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARIZONA
Mr. SALMON. Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for accommodating us today. I know that these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. This is probably going to be a one-of-a-kind type hearing in the history of at least the time that I have served here in the House of Representatives.
I want to thank you, because I know that you stepped out of a very, very crucial executive session to accommodate us on something that has been on the schedule, but I will also point out that this was scheduled long before this bombshell was dropped upon Congress a couple of weeks ago, and we are simply trying to follow through with the people's business.
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It becomes very, very difficult to get all of the people's business done amidst all of the serious allegations swirling around the White House. I, like you, am very, very frustrated, because I would like to move on to other things, as I know you would. We have other priorities to take care of, and I would hope that ultimately we want to serve justice, but we want it to be swift so we can move on to other things.
Let me thank all of the members of the panel that are here today. Every one of them have come at great sacrifice, not only to come here and relive the horrors that they have been through, but the sacrifice of taking time off from their jobs and families to be here today to fight for something that they truly believe in.
Mr. Chairman, this is a picture of Aimee Willard. Her mother, Gail Willard, would have been here today, but she is busy at a jury selection in the trial of Arthur Bomar. Bomar served time in a Nevada prison for murder and was released as a model prisoner, even though he bit off the ear of an inmate in prison. He moved to Pennsylvania. He is charged with killing Aimee, and may be charged in at least one other murder.
We refer to the No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, and Child Molesters Act as Aimee's Law, because her death helped to inspire this legislation. Of course, it could also be called Polly's law, Jeremy's law, Mary's law, Lee's law, or Lorin's law. You will hear their stories shortly.
What unites our witnesses today is that an entirely preventable and entirely predictable crime tore their lives apart. A murderer, rapist, or child molester was released from prison and went out to strike again.
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There are crimes so heinous that we must draw a line in the sand. We must say to criminals, if you commit one of these crimes, you are finished. You don't get a second chance. The victims of these crimes do not get a second chance, why should their attackers?
We have estimated that 14,000 murders, rapes, and child sexual assaults are committed each year by murderers, rapists, and child molesters who have been released from prison. About 12 percent of the time, or 1,700 times every year, the second crime is committed in a different state than the first.
This is outrageous, indefensible, and it must stop. It is no secret why these repeat crimes occur: Lax prison sentence. Consider these statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice: The average prison time served after conviction for sexual assault is 2 years, 9 months. The average prison time served after conviction for rape is 4 years, 9 months. Fully 13 percent of convicted rapists receive no jail time. The average prison time served after conviction for homicide, willful murder, is 5 years, 11 months.
This bipartisan No Second Chances Act will also hold states accountable if they fail to keep dangerous predators behind bars. Under the No Second Chances Act, if they release such a criminal from prison and that criminal was later convicted of one of these crimes in a different state, the first state would lose some Federal funds, which would, instead, go to compensate the state that obtained the second conviction. The bill would also provide long overdue compensation to victims and to victims' rights entities around the Nation.
The core question is this: As between the taxpayers of the state that released a convicted murderer, rapist, or child molester, and the state victimized by the recidivists, who should bear the cost? The bill is an appropriate exercise of congressional authority.
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After reviewing the legislation, the National Fraternal Order of Police wrote to me in a letter endorsing the measure: ''Your bill addresses this issue smartly, without federalizing crimes and without infringing on the State and local responsibilities of local law enforcement by providing accountability and responsibility to states who release their murderers, rapists, and child molesters to prey again on the innocent.''
The bill has been cosponsored by 58 of our colleagues and endorsed by over 35 major organizations nationwide. I would also like to highlight the support of Arizona's Attorney General, Grant Woods.
I commend this distinguished chairman of the Crime Subcommittee, Bill McCollum, for convening this hearing, and I look forward to working with you, and all of the folks on your committee, on moving the No Second Chances Act through Congress.
I would like to submit a list of the endorsements and a memorandum of the statistics for the Record.
[The statement of Mr. Salmon follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MATT SALMON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARIZONA
I would like to thank the distinguished chairman of the Subcommittee, Bill McCollum, for convening this hearing on the No Second Chances For Murderers, Rapists or Child Molesters Act. Chairman McCollum has been responsible for some of the most important crime-fighting legislation ever to pass into law.
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My deepest appreciation goes out to the survivors who will soon testify about their personal experiences and why they believe that we need to demand greater accountability and responsibility from our criminal justice system. While their stories are almost too painful to hear, they are necessary to fully understand the scope of the damage caused by repeat crimes committed by released murderers, rapists, and child molesters. You will soon hear from:
Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was assaulted and murdered by Richard Allen Davis, a released sex offender.
Mary Vincent, who was raped and brutally assaulted by Laurence Singleton. He was sent to jail, where he should have stayed. Yet because of weaknesses in our criminal justice system, he was later released, and he murdered Roxanne Hayes, a mother of three, in Florida. Singleton was recently sentenced to death in Florida.
Jeremy Brown, who was raped by Reginald McFaddena man who killed an elderly woman in Philadelphia by binding her face with tape and suffocating her. After 25 years in prison he was paroled. Three weeks after his parole, McFadden went on a crime spree in New York. McFadden murdered one person, murdered and raped another, and raped, assaulted, and held hostage a third. The survivor of the one man crime wave, Jeremy Brown, offered courageous testimony that helped to convince jurors to convict McFadden. She has said: ''McFadden was given a second chance, for some inexplicable reason, and now we have to pay for it.''
Louis Gonzalez, whose brother Ippolito ''Lee'' Gonzalez, a New Jersey police officer, was killed by Robert ''Mudman'' Simon, a convicted killer. Simon spent 12 years in a Pennsylvania prison for murdering his girlfriend after she refused to have sex with his gang. Weeks after he was paroled, he killed ' Officer Gonzalez. The judge who had sentenced Simon in Pennsylvania on his first murder conviction, had written to the parole board that Simon ''should never see the light of day in Pennsylvania or any other place in the free world.''
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Trina Easterling, whose daughter Lorin was murdered in Louisiana. A released rapist from Wyoming awaits trial for the crime.
I would also like to point out that Gail Willard, whose daughter, Aimee, helped inspire the bill, cannot speak to the Committee today. Gail is under a court-appointed gag order, because jury selection has begun in the trial of Arthur Bomar, a released Nevada murderer who is charged with raping and killing Aimee. Before the gag order took effect, Gail endorsed and spoke passionately about this legislation.
Finally, before I talk about the proposal I'd like to thank a few others. Steve Twist, who helped to draft the bill, and Fred Goldman, who has been one of our most effective advocates. I'd also like to thank Mika Moulton, whose son Christopher was murdered by a released killer. She has impressed me with her dedication to improve our nation's criminal justice system.
II. WHY WE NEED THE NO SECOND CHANCES BILL
Each year, 14,000 murders, rapes, and child sexual assaults are committed by individuals who have been previously released into our neighborhoods after serving a prison sentence for these crimes. More than 800 people, including, 83 children are murdered. More than 3,500 women are raped. And more than 7,500 children are sexually assaulted or molested. All by previously convicted and released murderers, rapists and child molesters. We can prevent the repeat carnage if we simply have the will to keep these offenders behind bars.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, we don't do this. Consider these statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice:
The average prison time served after conviction for SEXUAL ASSAULT is 2 years, 9 months.
The average prison time served after conviction for RAPE is 4 years, 9 months. Fully 13 percent of convicted rapists receive no jail time.
The average prison time served after conviction for HOMICIDE is 5 years, 11 months.
As you can see, sentences for these crimes, particularly sex crimes against women and children, are incredibly weak. Following the tragic death of nine-year-old Megan Kanka, who was killed by a released, twice-convicted child molester, Congress and state legislatures recognized the rights of families to be aware of sexual predators in their midst. Through Megan's Law and its policies of sex offender registration and community notification, citizens have been empowered to take measures to protect themselves. Now we should build on Megan's Law by keeping these dangerous criminals out of our neighborhoods entirely.
Ten years ago, a parent had no right to be notified that a convicted child molester lived next door. Now, many want more than notification that dangerous child molesters and sexual predators are in their neighborhoods and near their schools. They want to live free from convicted sex offenders. Let's keep every molester behind bars so we don't have to have more tears, more memorial services, and more child victims. And to those who disagree, a simple challenge: you explain to the victims of pedophilia why imprisoned child molesters, who have the highest rates of recidivism, should ever be set free to victimize innocent children again. Given that criminals with electronic monitors have raped while wearing the tracking devices, it is foolhardy to hope that registration alone can prevent subsequent depraved acts.
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III. HOW THE BILL WORKS
The No Second Chances Act is about accountability. Under the No Second Chances bill, sanctions will be triggered when convicted murderers, rapists, or child molesters are released from prison and proceed to commit these crimes again in a different state.
The bill requires no new funds; it merely redistributes, in select cases, existing federal funds, defined broadly, to the most deserving states and victims. There are numerous pots of federal money that could be utilized to accomplish the transfers described in the No Second Chances Act. Currently, the federal government distributes billions of dollars annually to the states to assist them with crime-fighting. The funding formulas take into account population, crime rates, sentencing structures, and other factors. The No Second Chances Act proposes to add a new factor, specifically to provide relief to states that are being victimized by murderers, rapists, and child molesters who have come from the prisons of other states.
Here's how it would work. For example, if a convicted murderer, rapist, or child molester was released from prison in Washington and was later convicted in Texas of one of the three same crimes, a portion of Washington's federal crime funds would be transferred to Texas.
In other words, the costs of prosecution and incarceration of the repeat predator would be transferred, to assist the 'victim' state with the costs that would not have been incurred had the first state (Washington in our example) acted properly to protect the public. In addition, $100,000 would go to the victim of the new crime (or the victim's heirs, in murder cases).
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To ensure that Federal law is consistent with the changes we are encouraging the States to make, the legislation instructs the United States Sentencing Commission to amend the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to provide that whoever is guilty of rape, or dangerous sexual acts against a child, shall be punished by imprisonment for life; and in the case of murder, by imprisonment for life or by the death penalty.
Additionally, the bill requires the Attorney General to collect and distribute data on the number of murders, rapes, and dangerous sexual offenses committed by persons previously convicted of one of these offenses, and to report on the percentage of repeat crimes committed in another State.
IV. THE BILL IS AN APPROPRIATE EXERCISE OF CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY
The bill is an appropriate exercise of congressional authority. After reviewing the legislation, the Fraternal Order of Police wrote to me in a letter endorsing the measure: ''Your bill addresses this issue smartly, without federalizing crimes and without infringing on the State and local responsibilities of local law enforcement by providing accountability and responsibility to States who release their murderers, rapists, and child molesters to prey again on the innocent.''
The No Second Chances Act leaves to the States those cases in which a recidivist strikes again in the same State. But States are helpless in preventing many crimes that occur because other states, with weaker laws, allow their released criminals to return to the streets to commit more crimes. States that have enacted tough criminal laws should not have to pay for the costs of another State's failure to keep a dangerous offender behind bars.
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The core question is this: As between the taxpayers of the state that released a convicted murderer, rapist, or child molester, and the state victimized by the recidivist, who should bear the cost?
V. THE BILL COMPLIMENTS EXISTING FEDERAL LAW
The Truth-in-Sentencing grant program, which encourages states to keep violent convicted felons in prison for 85 percent of the sentence or to increase the amount of prison time served by inmates, has resulted in about half of the states enacting tougher criminal justice laws. Chairman McCollum deserves great credit for this accomplishment. The No Second Chances Act would inject additional accountability into our criminal justice system. States that do not participate in the Truth-in-Sentencing program would be subject to the No Second Chances Act. Every State in America would have to take into consideration the costs of a convicted murderer, rapist, or molester who strikes again in another state.
Another federal law, the Interstate Parole and Probation Compact, which governs the interstate movement of about 250,000 parolees and probationers every year, would be enhanced by passage of the No Second Chances Act. Under the Compact, which has been in effect practically unchanged in the 1930s, states have to accept parolees from other states if they meet minimal residence and employment qualifications. On February 22, 1996, the Senate Judiciary Committee at the request of Senator Mike DeWine held an important hearing on this law. Representative Steve Chabot, who sits on this panel, offered cogent testimony at that hearing. Some of the cases that will be discussed at today's hearing were mentioned at the Senate hearing.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From reviewing the testimony from that hearing and conducting additional research I have reached the following conclusionreceiving states have little recourse when other States dump on them convicted murderers, rapists, or child molesters. Even if a state withdrew from the Compact it probably would not be able to prevent out-of-state convicts from taking up residence in their State. In fact, arguably a state that withdrew from the interstate agreement might be worse off; they could be stuck with a dangerous criminal with little information or any ability to transfer that offender back to the state of conviction if the person violates parole or probation.
In many cases, violent criminals have been transferred to another state without the receiving state being provided critical information. I believe that this was the case for some of the crimes that you will hear about this afternoon. The No Second Chances Act would provide a strong incentive for States that dump criminals to another state to provide complete information and to monitor the behavior of the transferred offender. I would point out that some of the witnesses at the Senate hearing thought that some sort of federal sanction was warranted for States that did not properly comply with the Compact. It was also suggested that states should be able to exercise more discretion in which parolees they accept, which is certainly an idea worth pursuing.
VI. THE BILL IS ''COST EFFECTIVE''
Some will say that it is too expensive for states to lock up the most violent criminal element for good. But, just the opposite is trueit is too expensive both in terms of cost and human suffering not to lock these people up for good. Released murderers, rapists, and child molesters are more likely to re-commit the same offense than any other type of offender. Released murderers are almost five times more likely than other ex-convicts to be rearrested for murder. Released rapists are 10.5 times more likely than non-rapist offenders to have a subsequent arrest for rape. Astonishingly, 134,000 convicted child molesters and other sex offenders are currently living in our neighborhoods across America.
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We have conservatively estimated the financial cost of allowing released murderers, rapists and child molesters to prey on the innocent at $1.18 billion annually. That says nothing of the incalculable human costs needlessly imposed on innocent Americans. You will hear of those costs shortly. For the past decade, America's inmate population has increased about 5.2 percent annually. If we permanently incarcerated all murderers, rapists and child molesters, the average growth rate of incarceration would increase by about one percent. And we would reduce suffering across America.
The most important function of government is to protect the public safety. It is immoral for criminals convicted of murder, rape and child molestation ever to be given a second chance to prey upon the innocent. The enactment of the No Second Chances Act would help government meet its fundamental obligation to every man, woman and child in America. Again, I thank Chairman McCollum for holding this hearing, and all of the survivors who have come from across America to testify in support of the bill.
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS(see footnote 1)
Every year, convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters who have been released from prison commit thousands of new felonies. The full extent of their crimes has never been measured, and the No Second Chances bill will require these crimes be tallied precisely for the first time. However, from Bureau of Justice Statistics studies, we have a pretty good idea about how many crimes these monsters commit after their release.
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If states respond to the No Second Chances bill by keeping convicted murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars, they will prevent literally thousands of violent crimes each year, including more than:
800 murders, including 83 child victims.
3,570 rapes, including 1,315 child victims.
9,635 sexual assaults, including 7,510 child victims.
16,500 total violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and assault).
8,450 property offenses (burglary, larceny, theft,, fraud, and motor vehicle theft).
Thousands of other drug and public order offenses.
Under the No Second Chances bill, sanctions will be triggered when convicted murderers, rapists, or child molesters are released from prison and proceed to commit these crimes again in a different state. This is a common occurrence.
Every year, convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters released from prison cross state lines and murder more than 100 people, including 10 children.
Every year, convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters released from prison cross state lines and rape more than 445 people, including 165 children.
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Every year, convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters released from prison cross state lines and sexually assault more than 1,200 people, including 935 children.
Some other facts to keep in mind:
More than 134,000 convicted sex offenders are currently living in our neighborhoods on probation or parole.
The average actual time served by men after conviction for rape is just 4 years, 9 months.
The average actual time served after conviction for sexual assault (including molestation, forcible sodomy, lewd acts with children, etc.) is just 2 years, 9 months.
The average actual time served for homicide (''willful killing'') is just 5 years, 11 months.
13% of convicted rapists receive no jail time.
Just 12% of convicted rapists are ordered to pay their victim restitution.
More than 5,000 murderers are released from prison annually.
More than 3,800 rapists are released from prison annually.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This outrage must end. Convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters should stay behind bars. The safety of our neighborhoods should come first.
ENDORSEMENTS FROM ORGANIZATIONS:
The Fraternal Order of Police, Washington, District of Columbia
Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Falls Church, Virginia
KlaasKids Foundation, Sausalito, California
Childhelp USA, Scottsdale, Arizona
Kids Safe, Granada Hills, California
National Rifle Association (N.R.A.), Falls Church, Virginia
Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau, Sacramento, California
Mothers Outraged at Molesters Organization (M.O.M.s), Independence, Missouri
Garland, Texas Police Department, Garland, Texas
Action AmericansMurder Must End Now (A.A.M.M.E.N.), Marietta, Georgia
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCArizona Attorney General Grant Woods, Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona Professional Police Officers Association, Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, Phoenix, Arizona
Association of Highway Patrolmen of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
California Protective Parents Association, Sacramento, California
Christy Ann Fornoff Foundation, Mesa, Arizona
Citizens and Victims for Justice Reform, Louisville, Kentucky
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Missouri
International Children's Rights Resource Center, Washington
Justice for All, New York, New York
Justice for Murder Victims, San Francisco, California
Kids In Danger of Sexploitation (K.I.D.S.), Orlando, Florida
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McDowell County Sheriff's Department, Marion, North Carolina
Memory of Victims Everywhere (M.O.V.E.), San Juan Capistrano, California
Mothers Against Gangs, Phoenix, Arizona
National Association of Crime Victims' Rights, Portland, Oregon
Parents Legal Exchange Alliance, San Francisco, California
Parents of Murdered Children, Cincinnati, Ohio
Parole Watch, New York, New York
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, Phoenix, Arizona
Protect Our Children, Inc., Cocoa, Florida
Protect Our Children, Lathrop, California
Speak Out for Stephanie (S.O.S.), Overland Park, Kansas
Survivor Connections, Inc., Cranston, Rhode Island
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSurvivors and Victims Empowered (S.A.V.E.), Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Survivors of Homicide, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
Victims of Crime and Leniency (V.O.C.A.L.), Montgomery, Alabama
The Women's Coalition, Pasadena, California
ENDORSEMENTS FROM INDIVIDUALS:
Ms. Gail Willard (PA; mother of Aimee Willard, a college student raped and murdered by a released killer*)
Ms. Mary Vincent (WA; survivor of rape and attempted murder in California; her attacker, released from prison, later killed a mother of three in Florida*)
Mr. Fred Goldman (CA; father of Ron Goldman, who was killed by OJ Simpson)
Mr. Marc Klaas (CA; father of Polly, who was molested and murdered by a released sex offender)
Ms. Dianne Bauer (AK; daughter of Dr. Lester Bauer, who was murdered in Nevada by a released murderer*)
Ms. Jeremy Brown (NY; survivor of rape; her attacker had served time for murder*)
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Ms. Trina Easterling (LA; mother of Lorin, an 11 year-old girl abducted, raped, and murdered, allegedly by Ralph Stogner, who had served time for raping a pregnant woman*)
Mr. Louis Gonzalez (NJ; brother of Ippolito ''Lee'' Gonzalez, a policeman murdered by a released killer*)
Bruce and Janet Greishaber (NY; parents of Jenna, murdered by a released violent felon [led to ''Jenna's Law''])
Nick and Teresa Mannella (AZ; grandparents of children molested by a twice released child sex offender)
Ms. Dianne Marzan (TX; mother of daughters molested by an HIV-positive, released sex offender*)
Ms. Mika Moulton (IL; mother of Christopher, a 10 year-old who was murdered by a released child molester and murderer)
Mr. Emery Nelson (KY; father of Scott, molested and murdered by released criminals in the infamous Trinity Murders)
The Pruckmayr family (PA; parents of Bettina, brutally murderedstabbed 38 timesin our nation's Capital by a paroled murderer)
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGene and Peggy Schmidt (KS; parents of Stephanie, raped and murdered by a released rapist [led to ''Stephanie's Law''])
Mr. David Swart (OH; son of Clara Swart, killed by a released murderer)
Ms. Beckie Walker (TX; wife of Texas Police Officer Gerald Walker, who was murdered by a released double-killer*)
Mr. Ray Wilson (CO; father of Brooklyn Ricks, who was raped and murdered by a released rapist*)
Ms. Brittany Lewis (CO; sister of Brooklyn Ricks*)
Mr. Winston Groom (AL; author of Forrest Gump and a former investigative journalist who has written on the crime issue)
More than 270 Americans who have signed an on-line petition at: http://www.house.gov/salmon/crime.htm
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Salmon. Those will certainly be admitted into the record. We should probably go in the order we introduced you.
Mr. Klaas, you are next.
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STATEMENT OF MARC KLAAS, SAUSALITO, CA
Mr. KLAAS. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing this hearing to go forward today, and thank you for allowing me to come and testify on behalf of H.R. 4258, Mr. Salmon's No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998.
I have to agree with Mr. Salmon that this is a very difficult time for America, especially for those who are entrusted to administer the juveniles facing us all. However, I believe our society believes the Federal government is consumed by the events of the moment to the point of distraction from the public policy that affects our lives on a daily basis, and I do hope that this hearing will convey the message that important ideas are still being considered, debated, and hopefully voted upon at the highest levels.
As President of the KlaasKids Foundation, a nonprofit children's advocacy organization, I have spent the past 5 years seeking, researching, lobbying, and advocating solutions to the crime epidemic that threatens the safety of law-abiding citizens.
It is only in recent years that the issues of accountability and responsibility have been injected into the criminal justice debate. Certainly you and I go back a long way on this, from the days of truth-in-sentencing.
Mr. Salmon's proposal takes that debate to a new and higher level. It places responsibility for sentencing policy squarely on the shoulders of the individual states, should a paroled violent felon commit a similar crime in another state.
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The lack of accountability for criminal justice sentencing decisions was vividly illustrated to me in a very painful and personal manner.
Although all of the crimes were committed in California, in 1978, Napa County Prosecutor James Boitano and sitting Judge William Blankenburg plea-bargained an escaped kidnapper who assaulted two women with a deadly weapon, and kidnapped one. Knowing that their ridiculously inadequate sentence would put Richard Allen Davis back on the street in less than 4 years, Judge Blankenburg defended his action by saying, ''I was glad to get rid of the man.'' The rest is tragic history.
I do not presume for one moment to speak for either Ms. Brown or Ms. Vincent, who are here with us today. However, I do wish to commend both of them for their incredible courage in coming forward as living testaments to the lack of value shown to the human life by the psychopathic offender.
Ms. Vincent's attacker, Larry Singleton, was not only released from prison, he subsequently moved to Florida and murdered a mother of three. Although I can't prove it, I don't believe for one minute that Larry Singleton lived a law-abiding life in the years between the two crimes.
Under H.R. 4258, California would be responsible for the cost of investigation, prosecution, incarceration, and the execution of Larry Singleton. Furthermore, California would be responsible to pay the estate of his subsequent victim $100,000 in compensation. Knowing that in advance, would California have ever released Larry Singleton from prison?
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There are those who will argue, and I think it is significant that nobody was willing to come forward to argue or to defend the indefensible in this hearing, but I am sure that at some point there are those that will argue that states cannot afford to incarcerate these individuals, these murderers, rapists, and child molesters, forever; that in some twisted sense, society is better served by returning unrepentant violent offenders back to the community.
But the result is inevitable: Innocent people suffer, defenseless citizens die, and society is victimized again and again. It has been estimated that releasing a violent offender costs society $452,000 per year. Citizens absorb that cost through increased insurance rates, security, both public and private, medical costs, and psychological counseling, not to mention the human toll, on which no value can be placed.
This is how the States seem to justify saving the $25,000 annual cost of incarceration. They are not liable once the offender is released from their custody. I am not so cynical as to believe that this is the only determining factor for the early release of violent offenders, but as Mr. Salmon stated, an average prison term of 5 years, 11 months for homicide, 4 years, 9 months for rape, and 2 years, 9 months for sex crimes against children is totally inadequate if public safety is a priority.
H.R. 4258 will get the attention of those responsible for determining imprisonment sentencing policy by making them financially responsible for their decisions. There is no reason why a state that deals responsibly with killers, rapists, and child molesters should have to pay for the mistakes of states that do not act responsibly. H.R. 4258 will save lives, promote public safety, and encourage accountability.
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Plaintiff, I hope you encourage the other members of the committee in joining me, numerous victims, and children's advocacy organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police, Representative Salmon and his large bipartisan alliance of congressional sponsors in supporting H.R. 4258.
Again, sir, thank you for your time and your consideration.
[The statement of Mr. Klaas follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MARC KLAAS, SAUSALITO, CA
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to testify on behalf of H.R. 4258, Representative Matt Salmon's ''No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists and Child Molesters Act of 1998''.
This is a very difficult time for America. Especially for those entrusted to administer the crisis that currently faces us all. However, I believe society perceives that our federal government is consumed by the events of the moment to the point of distraction from the public policy that affects our lives on a daily basis. I hope that this hearing will convey the message that important ideas are still being considered, debated and hopefully voted upon at the highest levels.
As president of the KlaasKids Foundation, a non-profit children's advocacy organization, I have spent the past five years seeking, researching, lobbying and advocating solutions to the crime epidemic that threatens the safety of law abiding citizens. It is only in recent years that issues of accountability and responsibility have been injected into the criminal justice debate. Mr. Salmon's proposal takes that debate to a new and higher level. It places responsibility for sentencing policy squarely on the shoulders of the individual states should a paroled violent felon commit a similar crime in another state.
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The lack of accountability for criminal justice sentencing decisions was vividly illustrated to me in a very painful and personal manner. Although all of the crimes were committed in California, in 1978 Napa County Prosecutor James Boitano and sitting Judge William Blankenberg plea-bargained an escaped kidnapper who assaulted two women with a deadly weapon and kidnapped one. Knowing that their ridiculously inadequate sentence would put Richard Allen Davis back on the street in less than four years, Judge Blankenship defended his action by saying, ''I was glad to get rid of the man.'' The rest is tragic history.
I do not presume for one minute to speak for Mary Vincent who is with us today. However, I do wish to commend her for her for her incredible courage in coming forward as a living testament to the lack of value shown by the psychopathic offender. Her attacker, Larry Singleton, was not only released from prison; he subsequently moved to Florida and murdered a mother of three. Although I cannot prove it, I do not believe for one minute that Larry Singleton lived a law-abiding life in the years between the two crimes. Under H.R. 4258, California would be responsible for the cost of investigation, prosecution, incarceration and execution of Larry Singleton. Furthermore, California would be responsible to pay the estate of his subsequent victim $100,000 in compensation. Knowing that in advance, would California have ever released Larry Singleton from prison?
There are those who will argue that the states cannot afford to incarcerate murderers, rapists and child molesters forever. That in some twisted sense society is better served by returning unrepentant violent offenders back to the community, but the result is inevitable: innocent people suffer; defenseless citizens die; and society is victimized again and again.
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It is estimated that releasing a violent offender costs society $452,000 per year. Citizens absorb that cost through increased insurance rates; security, both public and private; medical costs and psychological counseling, not to mention the human toll on which no value can be placed. This is how the states justify saving the $25,000 annual cost of incarceration: they are not liable once the offender is released from their custody. I am not so cynical as to believe that this is the only determining factor for the early release of violent offenders. But an average prison term of 5 years, 11 months for homicide; 4 years, 9 months for rape; and 2 years, 9 months for sex crimes against children is totally inadequate if public safety is a priority.
H.R. 4258 will get the attention of those responsible for determining prison sentencing policy by making them financially responsible for their decisions. There is no reason why a state that deals responsibly with killers, rapists and child molesters should have to pay for states that do not act responsibly. H.R. 4258 will save lives, promote public safety and encourage accountability.
Members of the committee, please join me, numerous victim and children's advocacy organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police, Representative Salmon and his bi-partisan alliance of Congressional sponsors in supporting H.R. 4258.
Again, thank you for your time and consideration.
DID YOU KNOW?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On a given day about 234,000 offenders of rape or sexual assault are under the care, custody or control of correction agencies. About 60% of these sex offenders are under conditional supervision in the community.(see footnote 2)
Violent sex offenders reported that two thirds of their victims had been under the age of 18. Four in ten rapists reported their victim had been a child, and 8 out of 10 sexual assaulters said their victim had been less than 18 years old.(see footnote 3)
Rapists and sexual assaulters serving time in State prisons were substantially more likely to have had a history of convictions for violent sex offenses.(see footnote 4)
More than half of rape/sexual assault incidents was reported by victims to have occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home.(see footnote 5)
In a study of 561 sex offenders, it was found that pedophiles committed an average of 281.7 acts with an average of 150.2 partners. That equals 84,262 separate victims.(see footnote 6)
In 1992, there were 6,600,000 violent victimizations: 141,000 rapes; 1,200,000 robberies; and 5,300,000 assaults. 5 percent of all households had a family member victimized by violence in 1992. There is a greater chance of being a violent crime victim than of being injured in a motor vehicle accident.(see footnote 7)
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The murder rate for 1996 was 7.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, with a total of 19,645 murders.(see footnote 8)
The average actual time served by men after conviction for rape is just 4 years, 9 months. The average actual time served after conviction for sexual assault (including molestation, forcible sodomy, lewd acts with children, etc.) is just 2 years, 9 months. The average actual time served for homicide (''willful killing '') is just 5 years, 11 months.(see footnote 9)
The direct cost to society for allowing a habitual criminal to remain on the street is $452,000 per year.(see footnote 10)
The cost of incarcerating a prisoner is approximately $25,000 per year.(see footnote 11)
It is only in recent years that issues of accountability and responsibility have been injected into the criminal justice debate.
Mr. Salmon's proposal takes that debate to a new and higher level. It places responsibility for sentencing policy squarely on the shoulders of the individual states should a paroled violent felon commit a similar crime in another state.
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The lack of accountability for criminal justice sentencing decisions was vividly illustrated to me in a very painful and personal manner.
Knowing that their ridiculously inadequate sentence would put Richard Allen Davis back on the street within four years, Judge Blankenship defended his action by saying, ''I was glad to get rid of the man.''
Psychopathic offender Larry Singleton, who victimized Mary Vincent, was not only released from prison; he subsequently moved to Florida and murdered a mother of three.
Under H.R. 4258, California would be responsible for the cost of investigation, prosecution, incarceration and execution of Larry Singleton. Furthermore, California would be responsible to pay the estate of his subsequent victim $100,000 in compensation.
It is estimated that releasing a violent offender costs society $452,000 per year.
States justification for releasing violent offenders: they save the $25,000 annual cost of incarceration and are not liable once the offender is released from their custody.
An average prison term of 5 years, 11 months for homicide; 4 years, 9 months for rape; and 2 years, 9 months for sex crimes against children is totally inadequate if public safety is a priority.
H.R. 4258 will get the attention of those responsible for determining prison sentencing policy by making them financially responsible for their decisions.
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The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Klaas.
Ms. Brown, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF JEREMY ANN BROWN, SOUTH NYACK, NY
Ms. BROWN. In 4 days, it will be September 21st, and on that night in 1994 a psychopath walked into my backyard in South Nyack, New York. He watched me through my dining room window and lurked in the shadows until I walked out of my house to carry garbage to the street.
Following that innocent moment in time, I was brutally attacked, beaten, robbed, repeatedly raped, and kidnapped for 5 hours. In 4 days, I will vividly and painfully relive the terror of facing death at the hands of a paroled murderer. My life and the lives of everyone I loved were changed forever. I am here this morning and this afternoon to report my experience to you.
What happened to me could just as easily happen to your wife, to your mother, your daughter, your friend. It could happen because paroled murderers and rapists are released freely into our communities every day and recidivism is a glaring, terrifying fact of the American criminal justice system.
If any one of you had to endure for 5 minutes what I endured for 5 hours, it would be too long. For 5 hours, I waited to die. For 5 hours, I had to guess at what my attacker was going to do. I waited to hear a gun. I waited to feel the edge of a knife. At one point, I felt his hands around my neck, and knew he was going to strangle me. I prayed I would live, but tried to accept the fact that I was going to die. I could not accept the fact that I wasn't going to see my children or my friends ever again. I waited for death.
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I have no idea whether or not devastating crimes such as this have touched your lives. I have no idea if you or any one of your families have ever experienced nightmares, loss of freedom, terror. We never had known any violence in our lives. We all live now with anxiety, anger, isolation, and uncertainty. I can't begin to explain how this experience has changed my life, but I will tell you that this paroled murderer has taken away my home, a home I filled with love and life and happiness.
During the following year it was revealed that the man who attacked me, Reginald McFadden, had also murdered three people during his 92 days of freedom. So as the sole survivor of this psychopath, I speak today in honor and memory of Sonia Rosenbaum, his first victim, who he murdered in 1969 in Pennsylvania, and Robert silk, Margaret Kierer, and Dana DeMarco, all murdered in 1994 in New York State after his parole.
I ask you all to please stop for a moment now and think what Reginald McFadden, who prior to his release was referred to as a model prisoner, did with the second chance that was afforded him. I am here today to bear witness to what happens when murderers are given a second chance. It means that three more people are dead and the lives of those they left behind are shattered forever. It means that my loved ones and I will never have a second chance, and we each will be forced to serve a life sentence.
Reginald McFadden had murdered a woman in Pennsylvania when he was 16 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Why doesn't life in prison mean life in prison? I believe the no second chances bill could be a preventive bill to tighten up and fine-tune the procedures surrounding the release of all murderers, rapists, and child molesters.
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The records clearly show that Reginald McFadden fell through numerous bureaucratic and political cracks. Who should have been accountable in this criminal fiasco? Corrections in PA, how could forensic psychiatrists, counselors, and officers, corrections officers, all be fooled by a sociopath? The Pardon Board in Pennsylvania, this board voted to commute his life sentence without parole, sight unseen, and place him in the care of unqualified citizens in another state. They said they didn't want to meet with him in person because they said it presented a security risk.
Then there was Governor Casey. This Governor was either negligent, or, even worse, chose to overlook the fact that McFadden had never completed the recommended prerelease program, and allowed McFadden to walk from 24 years in state prison right onto the streets of another state.
Then there was Irfan. This man's freedom was won by this small religious group from New York State after 16 years of invested time and effort. They washed their hands of him, though, almost immediately after his release, admitting now that they were frightened of him. Why wasn't parole in both states aware of that?
Then there was parole in New York State. Three months went by and parole authorities had not even fingerprinted, photographed, or placed McFadden on the list of Rockland County paroled felons. Accountability was nonexistent from the Governor of this paroled criminal-sending state, right on down to the receiving state's parole office.
Yes, I am here today to ask for your support of the no second chance bill, but in a larger sense I am asking that our government become accountable to our citizens they serve and protect. I hope this bill will be the beginning of a process. For me and my family, these horrific crimes are not about politics. The result of these beatings, rapings and murders, the end results of these abhorrent violations should not be elections won and elections lost, they should be about accountability, consequence, and change.
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Each of you is in a position to do something. You will have an opportunity to cast your votes and reduce the chances of something like this from ever happening again. You owe it to me, to Robert Silk, to Margaret Kierer, and to Dana DeMarco.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.
[The statement of Ms. Brown follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JEREMY ANN BROWN, SOUTH NYACK, NY
In four days it will be September 21st and on that night in 1994, a psychopath walked into my back yard in South Nyack, New York. He watched me through my dining room window and lurked in the shadows until I walked out of my house to carry garbage to the street. Following that innocent moment in time, I was brutally attacked, beaten, robbed, repeatedly raped and kidnaped for five hours. In four days I will vividly and painfully re-live the terror of facing death at the hands of a paroled murderer.
My life and the lives of everyone I love were changed forever.
I am here this morning to report my experience to you. What happened to me could just as easily happen to your wife, your mother, your daughter, your friend. It could happen because paroled murderers and rapists are released freely into our communities every day and recidivism is a glaring, terrifying fact of the American criminal justice system.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC IF ANYONE OF YOU HAD TO ENDURE FOR FIVE MINUTES WHAT I ENDURED FOR FIVE HOURS, IT WOULD BE TOO LONG!
For five hours I waited to die.
For five hours I had to guess at what my attacker was going to do. I waited to hear a gun. I waited to feel the edge of a knife. At one point I felt his hands around my neck and knew he was going to strangle me. I prayed I would live but tried to accept the fact that I was going to die. I could not accept the fact that I wasn't going to see my children and my friends ever again.
I waited for death.
I have no idea whether or not devastating crimes such as this have touched your lives. I have no idea if you or any of your families have experienced nightmares, loss of freedom, terror. We never had known any violence in our lives. We all live now with anxiety, anger, isolation and uncertainty. I can't begin to explain how this experience has changed my life. But I will tell you that this paroled murderer has taken away my homea home I had filled with love and life and happiness.
During the following year, it was revealed that the man who attacked me, Reginald McFadden, had also MURDERED three people during his 92 days of freedom. So as the sole survivor of this psychopath, I speak in honor and memory of Sonia Rosenbaum, his first victim, murdered in 1969 in Pennsylvania, and Robert Silk, Margaret Kierer, and Dana DeMarco, all murdered in 1994 in New York State after his parole.
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I ASK YOU TO PLEASE STOP FOR A MOMENT NOW AND THINK WHAT REGINALD McFADDEN, WHO PRIOR TO HIS RELEASE WAS REFERRED TO AS A ''MODEL PRISONER'', DID WITH THE SECOND CHANCE THAT WAS AFFORDED HIM.
I am here today to bear witness to what happens when murderers are given a second chance. It means that three more people are dead and the lives of those they have left behind are shattered forever. It means that my loved ones and I will never have a ''second chance'' and we each will be forced to serve a life sentence.
Reginald McFadden had murdered a women in Pennsylvania when he was sixteen and was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE. Why doesn't life in prison MEAN life in prison?
I believe the ''NO SECOND CHANCES'' bill could be a preventative tool to tighten up and fine tune the procedures surrounding the release of all murderers, rapists and child molesters.
The records clearly show that Reginald McFadden fell through numerous bureaucratic and political cracks. Who should have been accountable in this criminal fiasco?
1. CORRECTIONS IN PA. How could forensic psychiatrists, counselors and officers ALL be fooled by a sociopath?
2. PARDONS BOARD IN PA. This Board voted to commute his LIFE SENTENCE WITHOUT PAROLE sentence sight unseen and place him in the care of unqualified citizens in another state. (They didn't want to meet with him in person because they said it presented a ''security risk''!)
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3. GOVERNOR CASEY. This Governor was either negligent or even worse CHOSE to overlook the fact that McFadden had never completed the recommend pre-release program and allowed him to walk from 24 years in state prison to the streets of another state.
4. IRFAN. His freedom was won by this small religious group from New York State after 16 years of invested time and effort. They washed their hands of him almost immediately after his release, admitting now that they were frightened of him. Why wasn't Parole in both states aware of that.
5. PAROLE IN NYS. Three months went by and parole authorities had not even fingerprinted, photographed or placed McFadden on the lists of Rockland County paroled felons.
ACCOUNTABILITY WAS NON-EXISTENT FROM THE GOVERNOR OF THIS CRIMINAL'S SENDING STATE RIGHT ON DOWN TO THE RECEIVING STATE'S PAROLE OFFICE.
Yes, I am here today to ask for your support of the ''No Second Chances'' bill but in a larger sense I am asking that our government become ACCOUNTABLE to the citizens they serve and protect.
I hope that this bill will be the BEGINNING of a process. For me and my family these horrific crimes are not about politics. The results of these beatings and rapes and murdersthe end results of these abhorrent violations should NOT be elections won and elections lost.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They should be ACCOUNTABILITY, CONSEQUENCE AND CHANGE.
Each of you is in a position to DO SOMETHING. You will have an opportunity to cast your vote and reduce the chances of something like this from ever happening again. You owe it to me, to Robert Silk, to Margaret Kierer, and to Dana DeMarco.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Brown.
If Mr. Foley wants to join us up here, we would be happy for you to come up on the panel, even though you are not a member of the committee.
Ms. Easterly, you are recognized for your testimony.
Congressman Foley, by the way, is very interested in this subject. While he is not a full member we are happy to have him. Several others have expressed interest as well. Maybe we will get them here today.
STATEMENT OF TRINA EASTERLING, SLIDELL, LA
Ms. EASTERLY. This will be very hard. This is Lorin, my daughter. She would have been 12 October 2nd. She was taken by a stranger. All she was doing was just playing, like a normal day.
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I can't do it, I am sorry.
[The statement of Ms. Easterling follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF TRINA EASTERLING, SLIDELL, LA
This past April, my life was shattered by a horrible crime. My only child, Lorin, was brutally abducted and murdered. I should be shopping for her birthday present this week. Instead, I am testifying before you. Lorin would have turned 12 on October 2nd.
The trial in my daughter's case is still pending. Law enforcement officials in Louisiana would prefer that I refrain from discussing the man who has been arrested for the murder of my daughterhe has a criminal record outside Louisianaand that I avoid discussion of the evidence that has been gathered to date. I thank you for permitting me to honor their request.
But I would like to share with you a mother's thoughts on the senselessness of this crime and why we need the No Second Chances Act passed into law.
Lorin was playing in our front yard in our quiet town of Slidell, Louisiana, the day she was abducted. Nothing like this had ever happened before in Slidell. She was snatched right from the front yard. Must we tolerate this in America?
I say no. The monsters that commit these crimes should be locked away for good, or sentenced to death. They should never be given a second chance to destroy another life. You would think this would already be the law. Sadly, it is not. Particularly for crimes against children, I just cannot see the logic in letting criminals back on the streets. No one has yet explained to me why we give these heinous criminals second and third and even fourth chances.
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You would not want to hear a description of what happened to my Lorin, and you would not want to experience the nightmares I now have many nights. Nor would you want to experience the loss of a child to a murderer. I hope none of you ever faces such a horrible thing.
But I come to you today because you have the power to change the laws, so that fewer moms and dads face this pain in the future. More important, you can change the laws so that fewer children are abducted, raped, and murdered. I can't think of a more important issue to work on than protecting our children from heinous criminals.
''No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters.'' Sounds good to me. After all, my Lorin won't get a second chance. The next child to be murdered or molested won't get a second chance. It's time to put a stop to this madness.
I want to help, but you folks have the power. I am just a simple woman, what you might call a country girl. I was a good mother to my daughter, but I don't pretend to be an expert on the ins and outs of passing laws. But as a mother I can tell you this: it seems like common sense that if a man molests or murders a child, and he gets out of prison and does it again in a different state, the first state should pay. I'll bet there's not a mom out there who would disagree with me.
In closing, I would like to thank a few people. The F.B.I. and the local law enforcement authorities responded immediately when my daughter was missing. I appreciate their service. I would like to thank Congressman Matt Salmon, for introducing this bill. And I want to thank you, the Members of this Committee, and especially Chairman Bill McCollum, for holding this important hearing. Please pass this bill soon. The victims keep piling up.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. You did your best. We have your written testimony. If you would like to get back and try it again later, you may. We certainly understand. We thank you for being here. We know you have endured a great deal, Ms. Easterly. We are very sympathetic to that.
With that in mind, Mr. Edwards, would you proceed?
STATEMENT OF MARK EDWARDS, ESQ., SANTA ANA, CA
Mr. EDWARDS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Law-abiding citizens in this country should not have to tolerate violent crime such as rape, child molestation, or murder. These crimes become particularly abhorrent when committed by repeat offenders. Offenders who have served time in penal institutions for their violent crimes, but through laws favoring leniency, rehabilitation, and reentry into society, some violent criminals strike again. These subsequent crimes should be controlled by increased sentences and segregation from law-abiding society.
As a civil trial lawyer, I have represented one of America's most visible crime victims, Mary Vincent, in her quest to seek compensation from the State of California, privacy in her personal life, seclusion, and anonymity.
When her attacker, Lawrence Singleton, was released from San Quentin Prison under what was then California law, she went into seclusion. I was there when Larry Singleton was released. I was at the gate, served him with a civil judgment for $2.6 million when he left the trailer that had become his home when no community in California would accept him during his parole. I pursued collection of the civil judgment against him when he failed to appear in a California Superior Court for a judgment debtor examination. I pursued him for years. Although he felt he had paid his debt to society, he had yet to pay $1 to his victim, my client, Mary Vincent.
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Singleton moved to Florida, where in February of 1997 he brutally murdered Roxanne Hayes by stabbing her to death in his own home.
I accompanied Mary Vincent to Florida, where she took the witness stand and identified Lawrence Singleton as her assailant two decades previously, when she was kidnapped, brutally raped, sodomized, and had her forearms chopped off with a hatchet and was left for dead.
As we traveled on the airplane and she fell asleep on my shoulder, I was startled by the cries of fear she sang out and the nightmares she was obviously having, 20 years after the event. I saw the gut-wrenching fear in Mary's face as she entered the courtroom and confronted Singleton for the first time since his trial in California in 1979.
After the conviction and sentencing of death penalty I saw Mary Vincent turn into the creative woman and kind mother that had been trapped in seclusion, purely out of fear generated by the freedom given to Lawrence Singleton.
As a civil trial lawyer, I am finding more and more victims of crime seeking justice and compensation in the civil courts when they are disappointed or frustrated by the criminal or juvenile justice systems.
In 1993 and for several years thereafter, I represented Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Tay, whose son Stuart was brutally murdered and thrown into a shallow grave in California by five of his schoolmates. All five defendants were convicted of or pled guilty to first degree murder. Only one of the defendants was legally an adult, and therefore will serve life in prison. Three of the five defendants were sentenced to the California Youth Authority, where at the age of 25 they will be released into society under California law as free citizens.
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Should any of these criminals travel to another state and commit a violent crime, that state will be responsible for the expense and burden of prosecuting, convicting, and jailing that criminal.
Sociologists and psychologists and lawyers have studied the origin of crime and the effects of punishment from an economic standpoint, a social standpoint, and a statistical standpoint. Although these studies have accumulated valid data which can be used to improve our criminal justice and penal system, none of these studies have any bearing or relevance when you are the victim. When you are the one who suffers the pain in the loss of a child or the violation of rape, all the social and economic reasons in the world cannot remove the feeling of guilt, betrayal, or loss.
Congressman Matt Salmon's No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998, known as H.R. 4258, will take dramatic steps to level the playing field in the battle for survival by law-abiding citizens against violent crime.
H.R. 4258 will give states burdened with the prosecution of former violent offenders the opportunity to seek compensation for the expense of trial, conviction, and housing, along with compensation for victims in the state where the subsequent violent crimes take place, as well as on any Federal jurisdiction.
I would urge all of you to study this bill carefully and work towards its enactment by this Congress, in order that all Americans can continue the hope for safety and protection against violent crime.
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Thank you very much.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Edwards.
Ms. Vincent, would you like to make your statement?
STATEMENT OF MARY VINCENT, SANTA ANA, CA
Ms. VINCENT. My name is Mary Vincent. In 1978 I was a confused 15-year-old runaway who grew up in the glitter of Las Vegas, the middle child of 7, looking to find my way on the streets of California. I was hitchhiking when my assailant picked me up in his blue van and offered to give me a ride south. When I realized his intentions were to harm me, I was unable to escape, and found myself in the woods being brutally raped and sodomized by this violent man.
When I screamed and begged for him to release me, I was told by my assailant that he would release me. As I looked up, an axe fell down on my forearm, chopping it off in three blows. Seeing the absolute horror of this heinous act caused me such fear that when he struck my other arm, chopping it off, the grip of my hand was so strong against his that I remember him flailing his arm to release the grip of my dismembered arm. I was left for dead.
Shivering in the dark, damp cold, I waited until it was safe, all the time fearing that I would lose consciousness and die. I walked from the woods holding my arms up above my head, having remembered when I was a little girl my mother telling me when I cut my finger, to always hold the wound up above your heart to stop the bleeding. That advice saved my life and allowed me to go to court a year later in California to testify that my assailant was the one who did this to me.
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As I left the courtroom, I heard my assailant tell me that he would finish the job some day. When my assailant was released from San Quentin Prison, my lawyer, Mr. Edwards, helped me protect my privacy by virtually erasing my existence from public record. I lived a fearful life in seclusion in the Pacific Northwest.
When I heard that my assailant moved to the State of Florida, I took little comfort in knowing that he was on the other side of the country, and I suffered horrible nightmares only until just recently.
Unfortunately, my assailant's next victim was not as lucky as I. Roxanne Hayes died as a result of the brutal and violent attack she suffered at the hands of my assailant in February of 1997. It was only after I saw him in a courtroom in Tampa, Florida, and identified him as the one who had committed these horrible crimes that I realized that my life has been on hold for almost 20 years.
I have now obtained the long overdue psychological counseling to help me get over my nightmares and fear. Yet, sometimes I still feel like that confused 15-year-old runaway trapped in the body of a 35-year-old mother of two. No one should ever have to go through what I went through or what the children of Roxanne Hayes will go through without their mother.
Congressman Salmon's bill, No Second Chance for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act of 1998, will take positive steps to compensate victims and states for the burden imposed on them by the premature release of violent offenders.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Ms. Vincent, for that very poignant testimony. You are very brave to be here today, and we are very grateful.
Mr. Gonzalez, would you like to give us your testimony, please?
STATEMENT OF LOUIS GONZALEZ, NEWFIELD, NJ
Mr. GONZALEZ. Good afternoon. I would like to thank you for allowing us to testify today. My name is Louis Gonzalez. My brother was slain police officer Sergeant Ippolito Gonzalez. I live in Franklin Township, New Jersey. I am here to support H.R. 4258, the No Second Chances for Murderers, Rapists, or Child Molesters Act.
My brother served 20 years, a decorated police officer, took an oath to uphold the law, as well as serve and protect the citizens of his community. He had an unrelenting faith in the system that is continually tried by these individuals who do not believe in law and order.
He, as well as many other officers I have spoken with, question why they put on a uniform every day when criminals are continually getting off for the crimes they have been arrested for. My brother always believed that good would prevail. He believed that the good duties he performed for the citizens of his community on a daily basis would lead to protecting them from the evils that continually wreaked havoc on our society.
He allowed citizens to feel protected as well as respect his authority. His final moments with us he spent protecting us from two men who had no respect for the law or for human life. He was doing his job, and sacrificed his life for our protection.
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Many of us take for granted the sacrifices police officers take every day. They put on the uniforms and walk out their front door. There is never a guarantee that they will come home. My brother didn't. He is a tragic statistic today that every 54 hours, a police officer is killed in the line of duty.
On the night of May 6, my brother pulled over Robert ''Mudman'' Simon and Charles ''Shovel'' Staples for a routine traffic stop. Unbeknownst to my brother, they had just committed an armed robbery. The two men anticipated that my brother was aware of the crime they had just committed, so they prepared themselves accordingly. In the process of taking their identification and legal information, he was shot in the neck by Robert ''Mudman'' Simon. Once my brother was down, Simon shot him a second time in the back of his head, execution style, before they fled the scene.
It was at that moment that my family's lives were changed forever. My brother is dead, Sergeant Ippolito Gonzalez is dead. Simon was paroled to the State of New Jersey after being released from Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania.
Robert ''Mudman'' Simon had been paroled 2 1/2 months after serving 5 to 10 for armed robbery, an additional 10 to 20 for murdering his girlfriend, Beth Smith Dusenburg. He served only 12 years in prison for the murder conviction. Most of his youth was spent in juvenile detention centers for drug use and other criminal activities associated with the Warlocks motorcycle gang. He joined them when he was a teenager.
Robert Simon was and is a career criminal. Upon the review of his prison file he was denied many times for reasons cited by the parole board as repeated misconduct in prison, substance abuse, the nature of his crimes, his long criminal background, and the association with the Warlocks while in prison.
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Coincidentally, upon his last review for parole, his conduct file cited none of the reasons I have just stated to you today. His file had been wiped clean, and contained behavior that was only deemed that of a model prisoner. Robert Simon was released on February 18th, 1995, for good conduct.
I am here today in support of having the no second chance bill, implemented so it can be used as a safeguard to police officers and other states legislatively. Had this bill been in effect previously, my brother would still be alive today. Robert Simon would never have been released due to his previous murder conviction. The State of Pennsylvania and the parole system would have thought twice before releasing him.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Gonzalez, I hate to call a recess. I have to vote downstairs. I will be right back up. I would turn the gavel over, but I would like to come back for your testimony. I will be right back.
The subcommittee is in recess.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order. I apologize for the break. We are having to have some votes downstairs, and I have to go down there when that happens, for sure.
Mr. Gonzalez, when we broke you were in the middle of your testimony, and I apologize for that break. I hope we don't have that again, but we will proceed, if you would, where you were.
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Mr. GONZALEZ. I am here today in support of having the no second chance implemented so it can be used as a safeguard to police other states legislatively. Had this bill been in effect previously, my brother would still have been alive today.
Under this bill, Pennsylvania would have assumed the financial risk for having taken this unnecessary chance, releasing Robert ''Mudman'' Simon. Today no one can fully explain to me how Simon was paroled after being convicted for murder. No one can tell me why his release and the conditions of his parole weren't supervised. He violated every condition of his parole up until the death of my brother.
Both states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have passed the blame back and forth, but there has been no accountability thus far. There are no excuses that will ever be good enough for ignorance and injustice. There are no standards and procedures that are upheld to track ex-convicts out of parole that are working to this day.
Our country revolves around a series of checks and balances. Why can't our country make a serious effort to balance and ensure the safety of our society? We have many institutions that hold people monetarily accountable for the smallest of violations: speeding, not paying taxes, bouncing a check. We can't track an ex-convict. Something is wrong.
We need to determine where our priorities lie. So many of our systems are based on the outcomes of receiving monetary compensation for violation. Money has a much higher value than human life, because we have yet to impose the same kind of system for murderers, rapists, and child molesters who are released and repeat the same crimes.
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The implementation of this bill has been long awaited. States that have accepted the entrance of these ex-convicts should be held responsible for the destruction these criminals create. Their second chance creates no second chance for innocent victims and their families. My brother's chance to live a long and happy life was taken away from him by an individual who held no value for human life.
How is it that criminals are given too many opportunities at rehabilitation, yet we as law-abiding citizens are not given the opportunity to live safe and healthy lives? I implore you to implement this bill on a promise that you will be securing the fate of your families from becoming victims of a horrendous crime. You will be protecting your loved ones by making a permanent sentence imposed on these criminals so they can never do this again.
You will never understand the magnitude of our loss nor our experience. I can never wish this pain on anyone. No one should have to walk in our footsteps and have to feel the degree of anger, sense of loss of life we have experienced. We have been given our own life sentence for crimes we are not responsible for. These criminals have imposed a permanent alteration on our lives and well-being. We have to experience life without our loved ones, our loss of security, our violation of our personal being.
No monetary compensation will ever amend or equate our losses. But you need to implement this bill strictly as a deterrent so that other families, your families, can never, ever experience our life sentences. We have not been given a choice. You, on the other hand, have a choice now. Make the right one.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Gonzalez, for that very eloquent statement with regard to your views and, of course, those of your brother.
Ms. Easterling, I understand that you would like for Mr. Salmon to read your statement, that you would prefer that. Is that correct?
Ms. EASTERLING. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. If you would, Congressman Salmon, please, you are recognized to read Ms. Easterling's statement.
Mr. SALMON. Thank you, very much.
First of all, I would like to pay homage to Ms. Easterling for coming today. It has been less than 5 months since her daughter was taken from her, and as the father of two daughters myself, and two sons, I can't imagine finding the kind of inner strength to be able to even come to a proceeding such as this with the wound so fresh.
It is completely understandable, that it is very, very difficult for her to make the comments today that she has to make. I want to tell you, Trina, I think you are a real American hero for being here today.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Absolutely.
Mr. SALMON. With that, I am going to go ahead and read her statement.
''This past April my life was shattered by a horrible crime. My only child Lorin was brutally abducted and murdered. I should be shopping for her birthday present this week. Instead, I am testifying before you. Lorin would have turned 12 on October 2nd.
The trial in my daughter's case is still pending. Law enforcement officials in Louisiana would prefer that I refrain from discussing the man who has been arrested for the murder of my daughter, he has a criminal record outside of Louisiana, and that I avoid discussion of the evidence that has been gathered to date. I thank you for permitting me to honor their request.
But I would like to share with you a mother's thoughts on the senselessness of this crime, and why we need the No Second Chances Act passed into law. Lorin was playing in our front lawn in our quiet town of Slidell, Louisiana, the day she was abducted. Nothing like this had ever happened before in Slidell. She was snatched right from the front yard.
Must we tolerate this in America? I say no. The monsters that commit these crimes should be locked away for good or sentenced to death. They should never be given a second chance to destroy another life. You would think this would already be the law. Sadly, it is not, particularly for crimes against children.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just cannot see the logic in letting criminals back onto the streets. No one has ever explained to me why we give these heinous criminals second, third, and even fourth chances. You would not want to hear a description of what happened to my Lorin, and you would not want to experience the nightmares I now have many nights, nor would you want to experience the loss of a child to a murderer. I hope none of you ever face such a horrible thing.
But I come to you today because you have the power to change the laws so that fewer moms and dads face this pain in the future. More important, you can change the laws so fewer children are abducted, raped, and murdered. I can't think of a more important issue to work on than protecting our children from these heinous criminals.
No second chance for murderers, rapists, or child molesters sounds good to me. After all, my Lorin won't get a second chance. The next child to be murdered or molested won't get a second chance. It is time to put a stop to this madness. I want to help. I am just a simple woman, what you might call a country girl. I was a good mother to my daughter, but I don't pretend to be an expert on the ins and outs of passing laws.
But as a mother, I can tell you this, it seems like common sense, that if a man molests or murders a child and he gets out of prison and does it again in a different state, the first state should pay. I will bet there is not a mom out there who would disagree with me.
In closing, I would like to thank a few people. The FBI and the local law enforcement authorities responded immediately when my daughter was missing. I appreciate their service.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to thank Congressman Matt Salmon for introducing this bill, and I want to thank you, the members of this committee, and especially Chairman Bill McCollum, for holding this important hearing. Please pass this bill soon. The victims keep piling up. Thank you.''
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Salmon, for reading that, but most of all, Ms. Easterling, for being here. As Mr. Salmon said, you are a hero. In fact, all of you who have come today, the three victims in particular, and the mother of the victim, are absolutely heroes for being here.
We are dealing with a very, very important matter. I think that you are talking about the type of criminals that you have encountered in your life, all of the witnesses here who have families affected by this. This is the toughest part. This is the part that all of us want to get at the most.
The juvenile justice system, it seems to me, is broken in this country, and some of those whom we have talked with today, here today, some of you who have testified, talked about that system in a direct way. Ms. Brown, you in particular, as I recall, your perpetrator was only 16 when he committed his first murder. He got a life sentence, even, at that.
Could you tell us if you know if he had a prior criminal record to the first time when he committed that murder when he was 16?
Ms. BROWN. Yes. To my knowledge he had been arrested or had been brought in on charges about 100 times. He was from a large family, and there was a lot of criminal mischief in their family, so to speak. Some of his brothers are in prison for murder.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. This is quite a story to hear, because so often I travel around the country and I hear from people who are very sympathetic to not treating juveniles the same as adults, no matter what the crime. We have many advocates out there saying, don't force strict, absolute sentences on them if they are under 18.
What do you think? What do you say to those people who think that children should be treated differently, no matter what their crime?
Ms. BROWN. I never think of McFadden as a child. It is kind of hard to think back to that. I am not prepared to answer that. I can't really think about it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. That is all right. I just was curious. We are facing that question here. Does anyone else, any other witnesses, want to talk to thatis there anyone besides Mr. Salmon would like to comment?
Mr. EDWARDS. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I commented about the Tay murder case, which was known in Orange County, California, as the Honor Roll Murder. Although four out of five of those criminals were juveniles, they were tried as adults, obviously, because of the heinousness of the crime.
I think states should be sent a message that when children commit adult-level crimes, they will be treated, tried, and punished as adults.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I am deeply disturbed by those states who don't do that. There are very few now who don't do that, but we have a lot of record out there saying that when they commit misdemeanor crimes, kids aren't getting even taken before juvenile authorities because the systems are overworked.
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We also have testimony that has come before our committee on numerous occasions that young people who are not punished for their relatively minor crimes early on tend to think there are no consequences when they get older to committing these violent crimes.
So the subcommittee is particularly disturbed by the patterns, and that is why I asked Ms. Brown that question, about the background of her assailant. Prior to the very first crime that he was given this life sentence for he had a lot of other crimes. I dare say, something went wrong with the system even before he committed the murder, and even before he was sentenced to life and even before he was let out early, something went wrong with our system.
Mr. Salmon, in your bill you seem to make things retroactive here. Could you explain that to me? Is this bill retroactive in the sense that somebody is released from prison in a state, and has been released some time ago, let's say it was 10 years ago they were released, and this bill was enacted into law.
As it is now written, would the effort you are making here to force the state that released him to pay compensation apply in that situation, or is it only prospectively that you intend tothose who are released after the bill becomes law?
Mr. SALMON. Ultimately, the bill is going to be subject to whatever the will of the committee and ultimately the will of the House is, anyway, after it goes through the markup process, and on the floor. I am sure there will be changes along the way, tightening along the way.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I had my personal desire, I would like to see it be retroactive, because I think it sends a starker message to the States that we are not going to tolerate this on into the future. I think it sends a clear message.
However, I think it can be argued that, in fairness to the States, with due process, the bill should only be prospective. I can see arguments on both sides. But since we have heard the stories, the anecdotes, we have seen the statistics, we are able to place faces with the statistics now.
We know it is a problem, a major problem in our country, that many states are lax when it comes to putting these evil people behind bars and keeping them behind bars. The efforts that we have had, that you have led, on truth-in-sentencing, have made a tremendous improvement in the way things are, but we are still not where we need to be. We still need to have some mechanism that will get states to finally understand the problem, and the problem is that these vicious criminals are getting out of prison, they are destroying lives again and again and again.
I would like to make a comment, both regarding the criminal justice system that you commented on, as well asI mean the juvenile criminal justice system, as well as the adult.
We hear from so many lawmakers, and I was a state legislator, and probably I heard the same excuses time and time again from policy-makers; that is, we simply don't have the money to keep these people behind bars.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I think you would agree with me, that is a copout. It seems like time and time again when states or counties or cities are faced with the question, are we going to raise taxes to build a stadium, they always seem to be able to find the money. Why can we find the money for football or baseball, to dun the taxpayers for that, but we can't find the money to keep these evil, evil people, these vicious monsters off the streets from hurting our families? I think that is a copout.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Salmon, I am going to run down to vote again, but before I do that, I will tell you what I am going to do. Technically, under the ruleswe have a couple of guests here today. I can yield second round time to whoever I want to. It is my time, nobody else is here.
I am going to yield to Mr. Foley, and then if he finishes, to Mr. Fox for questions as I go take a vote. We are not going to recess.
You may proceed, Mr. Foley.
Mr. FOLEY [Presiding.] Thank you. Let me, of course, thank the chairman for this hearing today, and particularly in light of the difficult schedule he is under. I want to also thank the panelists for their heartfelt testimony. I know it is extremely difficult. To those of you who have experienced this, none of us can imagine in our own minds the trauma you have endured.
I want to comment on something Mr. Gonzalez said. Money has a much higher value than human life, because we have yet to impose the same kinds of systems for murderers, rapists and child molesters who are released and repeat the same crimes.
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I look at the simple analogy of how government will pursue traffic violators who don't pay their parking tickets. They will go out to do this unlimited search for the cars, and then they will boot the cars. You are not moving that car until you pay up your fine. They will pursue somebody who violates parking laws. But a rapist and murderer, child molester, if there is no money in it for the system, we will just have to let them out and hope they have been rehabilitated.
I hear time and time again about costs: How can we afford to keep these people in prison because of the cost? So obviously, again, to backdrop your argument, I think cost should not be considered here, because the cost to society is far greater. Would you not agree?
Mr. GONZALEZ. Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, in my position right now, that was the biggest factor on prosecuting the two criminals. It goes back, wheeling and dealing. The theory behind it was instead of taking them to court, they are willing to pleadone pleads life imprisonment and the other one wants 7 years for the conviction of the other suspect.
The prosecutor comes to me, Lou, in a week we will go out of here, you go on with your life. It will be quick and easy and cheaper for the county. They spent close to $1 million to prosecute these two people. I don't know what they would have spent if I would have said yes; probably a couple of hundred dollars spent.
If my brother happened to be like myself, if I was the victim I think they would have done the deal, but because my brother was a police officer, and I said, I would start calling politicians and FOPs all over the countrythey would have probably cut the deal because of a money factor. It is ridiculous. Everybody considers money. It is not right.
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Mr. FOLEY. I guess I wish every Member of Congress, every lawmaker, every judge, had to live a day in the shoes of the lives of somebody who has lost someone. I think then society would change dramatically.
Mr. GONZALEZ. You need your checks and balances. I mean, incarceration is not an idea for every criminal out there, but you have to follow them. You have to know where they are going. Just because you have a population like this doesn't mean you let the animals out.
Mr. FOLEY. Let me ask my colleague, and again commend him for introducing the bill. A lot of people, lay people in our society, have a great deal of trouble understanding when terms like ''sentencing guidelines'' are thrown around, and then laws.
I would like to ask you a question. Your bill directs the Sentencing Commission to increase the penalty for some crimes beyond the maximum punishment allowed by Title 18. Why does your bill seek to change the sentencing guidelines, rather than the laws themselves?
Mr. SALMON. Well, the sentencing guidelines that we are talking about are for the Federal crimes, obviously. We can't impact sentencing guidelines in the States. We don't have the authority to do that. We only have authority over Federal crimes.
I might also add that probably less than 2 percent, and that is probably even generous, of the crimes that are committed in our society would be ''Federal crimes.'' So the bill that we have before us stipulates a change in the sentencing guidelines for Federal crimes in these three areas. It does not impact the sentencing guidelines of the States. They would have to make those changes themselves.
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The reason that we try to attack the sentencing guidelines is because all too oftenthere is a two-core problem. One, you have the sentencing guidelines themselves, and two, you have the problem of after they are in prison, the sentence being carried out. Mr. McCollum knows that problem. All too often, even with sentencing guidelines, you have a criminal that is sentenced to life in prison, gets out in 4 years after parole.
The truth-in-sentencing stipulations that we passed in the Congress, and many states have passed as well, say they must serve 85 percent of their sentence, at least. So that is one of the core problems that we have in this falling through the cracks in criminals getting out early, is that, one, the sentencing guidelines are not tough enough; and two, even when the sentencing guidelines are there, that they are not necessarily adhered to.
Mr. FOLEY. Let me just ask one final question, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Salmon, you are a very compassionate man. A lot of people suggest people be given a second chance. People say they can be rehabilitated. But based on the testimony of Ms. Vincent and others, can you, in your wildest imagination, assume individuals capable of that crime could ever be rehabilitated?
Mr. SALMON. We have to put our compassion in the right place, first of all. I have more compassion for Mary or for Trina or for any of the people that are sitting up here, Mark, any of the folks that are sitting up here, Jeremy, any of these folks, than I do for the person that has taken a life, molested a child, or raped somebody. I have a lot more compassion for them.
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They are like ticking time bombs. The recidivism rates that we have beenthat we have seen by the Department of Justice estimate that well over 50 percent of these criminals go on to commit a similar crime, whether within their own states or within another state. That is not a chance that we as policymakers ought to be willing to take, to put out upon the public.
It is not as if we are going to Vegas, putting our own money on the line, looking for a return. The chance we are taking is with somebody else's family, somebody else's life. I think in society we have to finally draw a line in the sand and say, listen, ahead of time, before you commit the crime, there are some crimes so heinous in our society and pose such a threat to our society that we are not going to give you another chance to do this. The costs far outweigh the benefits. That is where compassion ends for you. You don't get another chance.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Foley. The way we are working this, since I am the only member of the subcommittee or the full Committee on the Judiciary, unfortunately, able to be here today, for the reasons we all know, we have two or three other Congressmen, and we are delighted they are here, but the committee or the subcommittee's procedure require yielding of time for them to be able to ask questions. So I have taken a second round with Mr. Foley and yielded him my time. I am now going to go to a third round of questioning. I know how convoluted this may sound, but it is the practical way to do this. We have Mr. Fox with us today. Then we will intend to go a fourth round, and let Mr. Weldon ask some questions, if he would like.
I yield my five minutes in the third round to Mr. Fox.
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Mr. FOX. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank both you and Mr. Salmon for your leadership on this very important issue. I can't imagine a more important piece of legislation in this 105th Congress than the no second chances bill Congressman Matt Salmon has filed and we have cosponsored.
Frankly, Matt, Congressman Salmon, this is an excellent piece of legislation. As a former assistant district attorney in my State of Pennsylvania, let me tell you, I have seen enough victims. Frankly, there are some people that can be rehabilitated, but the people who have committed the crimes against these victims and their families who are here today, had we had your law in fact, they may not be sitting here except as witnesses. They would not be here as panelists.
So whatever we can do to move ahead in this legislation, we certainly have the heroes and heroines here today. Let us make sure that we make the difference, obviously, in passing this bill for the future.
Matt, do you know how many offenders your bill would affect annually, among the crimes we have designated?
Mr. SALMON. Yes, Mr. Chairman, and Congressman Fox. It would affect about 14,000 crimes a year.
Mr. FOX. How many?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SALMON. 14,000.
Mr. FOX. What originally prompted you to file this legislation?
Mr. SALMON. I have been working on this concept for a lot of years. I have served in public office now for about 8 years, but I actually wanted to do something on this issue when I first got married.
We had begun housesitting for a friend of mine, a very, very dear friend of mine. We were newly married, poor as church mice and going to college, like so many of us were, trying to make ends meet. Some good friends of my parents, members of my own church, had invited us to come in and take care of their home, instead of having to pay the cost of living in an apartment.
While we were living there, the woman of the house went to a woman's church meeting on a Wednesday night. She called me at midnight and asked me to come meet her at the hospital to tell me that she had been raped. So up close and personal I got a very, very devastating taste of how these crimes impact peoples' lives. I saw how it impacted her family. I saw the devastation with her children. Her family was never the same.
I later went to serve on a board of a group called the Child Crisis Center, which takes in abused children. I remember, we walked into a board meeting to talk about a capital drive, to build a new building for the center. They take in children who have been abused by their parents and provide a safe haven for these children before they are adopted out into foster care, or placed out in foster care, ultimately for adoption.
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But she asked us to go out and meet this little 5-year-old child, this little 5-year-old before the meeting began. We went out and met with him. We went back into the board meeting, and she informed us that that little boy had tried to hang himself with the swing the day before.
What would ever possess a little 5-year-old child to try to commit suicide. They are full of life, full of exuberance, full of hope. They have everything ahead of them. What would possess a 5-year-old child to do that? They then proceeded to tell us that his mother's boyfriend had sodomized that little boy, and he had just given up on life.
Don't we owe these children more than that? Those are the things in my life that drove me to come here before you today to try to make a change in a law, in laws that we ought to be ashamed of. The fact that a molester of children serves less than 3 years in prison in America is a scourge on our society. The same for rape, under 5 years, and the same for willful murder, under 7.
We owe it to the people we represent to do something to stop this type of senseless violence. The folks that are here today, how can anybody look them in the eye and say, I am sorry, we haven't got enough money. Your child wasn't worth that to us. I don't think anybody up there is going to have the guts to do it. I certainly don't.
Mr. FOX. We effectively also have to do this in the state level, as well, to have a no second chance, or the ripple effect?
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SALMON. It will takeyes. Obviously, but changing this law, the next day everything would be wonderful and criminals will never commit crimes again. But we hope that this will provide the impetus for states to realize that there is accountability, there is accountability. If you let somebody out frivolously who is going to go on and commit that same crime again, there is a financial price to be paid.
Mr. FOX. I would ask this to Mr. Klaas or Mr. Edwards or both. The State of California has passed a three-strikes-and-you-are-out law. Is it your view that this law is not sufficient to get at truly chronic offenders? I assume that you would be requesting one strike and you are out for certain offenders?
Mr. KLAAS. Most certainly, sir. This is something that Mr. Edwards is prepared to talk about, but in certain instances, certainly two strikes, three strikes, are far too many, because there are far too many victims. But I will yield to Mr. Edwards at this time.
Mr. EDWARDS. Thank you. Because I am not a politician nor standing for public office, I can state publicly that the three strikes program has generally been a failure in those states that have adopted it.
As a trial lawyer, I have seen that with my own eyes as recently as 2 weeks ago. Two weeks ago I was in the superior court in Los Angeles, awaiting assignment to trial on a wrongful death matter. I represented three children of a mother who had been killed. We were having settlement meetings, and the judge had to excuse himself and take the bench to hear a criminal case because the time period was running within which he could negotiate a plea or go to trial.
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They brought an in custody gangbanger in in his shackles with his translator. The judge explained to him in great detail, through his translator, that if he were to plead to the offense that he was offered, that he would serve a certain amount of time, 6 1/2, 7 years. If he were to go to trial and be convicted he would serve the same amount of time but it would be a strike against him and he already had one strike. This would be his second.
As the judge was reading the record, he said, I find it interesting here that one of your convictions was voluntary manslaughter, and yet the victim was stabbed in the neck 4 times. So obviously that was some sort of plea bargain to get one of his potential strikes erased from the record.
The response of the defendant was, I want my trial. As a lawyer, I know why he wanted his trial, because he wanted to burden the system to make them go through a 4-to-5-day trial at the 1 in 10 chance that a technicality would cause him to walk. So as a result of that, the courts, criminal courts, are overburdened with criminal cases that cannot be settled. We civil lawyers are applauded when we settle a civil case. Yet, when there is a plea bargain, you prosecutors are criticized for that. Yet, I would much rather have that gangbanger off the streets for 3 to 5 years in a plea bargain than run the risk of him walking altogether.
The chairman hit the nail right on the head when he asked about whether the States have responsibility for this. They have really kind of dropped their responsibility, or at best, been inconsistent. If the States would sentence and house appropriately the violent offenders that Congressman Salmon is speaking to, we would not be here today. The Federal Government would have no need to get involved. But obviously, that is not the case.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Fox. I appreciate it.
Mr. Weldon, I yield the fourth round to you for questions.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me start off by applauding you for your leadership on this and a whole host of other Committee on the Judiciary issues. You are an outstanding member of this institution.
I want to also congratulate my good friend and colleague, Matt Salmon, for this legislation, which I was pleased to cosponsor when he first introduced it.
To each of our witnesses, I extend my deepest sorrow over what are absolutely outrageous cases. I have read through them all and, not being a member of this committee, would not ordinarily be here. I am here because I care about this issue, and I am also here representing someone who could not be with us today, a 22-year-old young lady who lived less than 1 mile from my home, who was a dynamic athlete and an outstanding student. In fact, she was in the prime of her life, and had a promising career ahead of her in whatever field she chose to pursue. She was enjoying life to its fullest.
Unfortunately, she was stopped along one of our interstates in Pennsylvania about 6 miles from where she lived and I currently live in Pennsylvania. Aimee Willard's body was not recovered until several days after the incident, where she in fact was assaulted, raped, and murdered.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This week the trial started for the accused individual, Arthur Bomar, who the state believes committed the outrageous crime of killing Aimee Willard. Arthur Bomar was paroled in 1990 from a Nevada prison after serving only 11 years for killing a man over a parking space. Even in prison he had a continued record of violence, including a felony conviction for assaulting another inmate. In fact, he is a prime suspect in at least one other and perhaps two other cases involving the murder of young women.
This legislation, perhaps if it had been enacted 5, 6 or even 3 years ago, might have allowed Aimee Willard to be here today, and might have allowed your loved ones to be here today. It is absolutely outrageous that in America the States do not have in place the mechanisms to keep people imprisoned who in fact have committed outrageous crimes against mankind.
It tears me apart, as I review the story of this young lady who I never had the opportunity and pleasure to meet, but who our entire county of 600,000 know so well. The stories of each of you, which I have read, are very similar in nature, where there are outrageous cases of individuals who have taken lives and who have done outrageous and terrible acts against human beings when they should not have been freed.
Mr. Salmon, I think your legislation I think is the least that we can do, and I would urge this subcommittee and the full committee to move this legislation as quickly as possible. I will pledge to assist. I do that on behalf of Aimee, because right now Aimee's father and mother are going through the terrible turmoil of sitting through jury selection and a trial that will begin in a few short days.
Hopefully, in our legal system, a jury will in fact conclude the justice that is necessary in the Aimee Willard case. But regardless of what the finding is against Arthur Bomar, as is the case with each of you, it won't bring Aimee Willard or your loved one back. It will not return that young, vibrant woman to the life that she could have been living.
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So, Mr. Chairman, I ask you to lend your support, as you have done with so many issues that have improved the quality of life for America's towns and cities. As a small town official, I had to deal with the problem of organized crime in the form of a motorcycle gang for 5 years, the Pagans. I know that ofttimes the Federal Government really lays down the marker in terms of legislative remedies for these outrageous situations.
As you have done in the past, I just ask and implore you to assist Matt Salmon in moving this legislation as quickly as possible. Thank you all for appearing today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Weldon, for that articulate statement. You have always been interested in the criminal justice matters, as is Mr. Fox, despite the fact you are not on our committee. It doesn't make Congressmen any less interested. Mr. Salmon isn't, either. We are delighted that you are here today and very appreciative of that.
Let me close the hearing out today with one broad question, to anyone here who wishes to answer a combination. I think I probably know the answer in Ms. Vincent's case.
But for those of you who have had relatives or are victims yourselves of these crimes, I am curious to know what your experience was, not in the sense of somebody being let loose from prison who perpetrated a crime later, which is obviously the concern of the bill, but generally what your experience was with the criminal justice system in your own case; that is, with regard to prosecutors, with regard to the court system, with regard to the investigators and so forth with whom you had contact in your particular case.
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Ms. Brown, maybe I should start by asking you that question. Was it favorable, unfavorable?
Ms. BROWN. I had a wonderful experience with law enforcement officers, detectives who were very supportive, kind, and worked very quickly, and understood what I needed in order to help myself heal. They included me in the investigation, and made me feel like I was part of a team that was going after this guy.
As far as waiting for the process to take place, it was very, very difficult. I felt it took way too long. The judge took many, many breaks and put things off, and it didn't go swiftly, as it should, which meant that I could not speak to anyone. I could not vent my anger. I could not speak my peace for about a year, whereas the criminal was on the front page of the newspaper every day. He was calling the hotline of the local radio station, he was being quoted, he was beating up the corrections officers and spitting on the sheriff in the jail, in Rockland County. So I would have liked to have seen it go more quickly. But overall, I had a good experience with criminal justice.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Ms. Easterling, I think you have commented through your statement about how much you appreciated the FBI. Have you generally had a good experience so far?
Ms. EASTERLING. I am still waiting for trial.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The investigative part so far
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Ms. EASTERLING. In the investigation, the FBI were wonderful. They acted quickly, yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Gonzalez, what is your impression? Obviously, your brother was a law enforcement officer, but you have had experience with the whole system.
Mr. GONZALEZ. I was forewarned when they were apprehended and we went to sentencing. The Federal court, in forewarning, they told me, we have got a good case here, we are going to present it, but you have to remember, the public, you don't know which way they will go. If you want to be safe, let's plea bargain and we will get it out of here.
I said, my brother served 20 years as a police officer. He believed in law. I said, I will go with law. We went for sentencing. The only thing that appalls me is the parole system and the prison system. They are out of control.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The rest of it is working right, as far as you are concerned?
Mr. GONZALEZ. I think they are overworked, to no avail, because it is a revolving door. It has to stop.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Klaas, I know you have had a lot of experience with this question. I would like for you to repeat your answers to that one more time for us.
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Mr. KLAAS. Thank you very much for this opportunity, Mr. Chairman.
Once the process got going on Polly's killer, things moved as well as they could. In fact, I was probably treated as well as any victim family member could be treated in such a situation. The goals of the prosecution were the same as our goals.
Certainly the most frustrating initial element of the situation was that a psychopath was put back onto the street, paroled onto the street early, to again deal with my daughter. I think that is what is so wonderful about Mr. Salmon's bill, it addresses the psychopaths and pedophiles of our society. Quite frankly, I have never heard of one of those individuals ever having been rehabilitated, not one psychopath, not one pedophile.
Once we got into the system, although there was a confession and the killer did direct law enforcement to my daughter's body, it took 2 1/2 years to come to trial. Because of the heinousness of the crime, the defendant was assigned two lawyers at public expense. Because of the notoriety of the crime, a change of venue was ordered.
Once that happened, my family had to relocate at our own expense to the new location for the trial. Again, inexplicably, once they got into the sentencing phase of the trial, although my family, without ever complaining about the circumstance, and had spent our own time and our own money attending this trial every day, where again, as in Ms. Brown's case, we were unable to look the jury in the eye, we were unable to emote in any way, shape, or form, it turns out that during that sentencing phase the defendant's family was moved down to the new location at state expense. Their transportation, their housing, their food, everything was paid for at state expense.
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Again, one has to wonder, what is going on in this society? One only has to look at a situation like Timothy McVeigh, where he commits this horrible crime, and then the state or the Federal government, I guess, in this case, gives him $10 million to defend himself. Why is it that the allocations are there, the money exists, we are willing to pay the money, but we are only willing to do it on one side? We are only willing to give it to the defendant?
When all was said and done in our case, when he had been sentenced, and just as he was about to be sentenced to death, after we had spent numerous millions of dollars giving this monster the opportunity to defend himself for what he did against my child, he was inexplicably given an opportunity to speak.
At that point, after all had been proven, as he was about to be sentenced to death, he accused me of having molested my own daughter, and I am the one who got thrown out of the courtroom. So I think there is no equity in this system. I think that the victim restitution element of Mr. Salmon's bill is very, very important, because finally this will bring some type of equity back. It will giveit will address this whole problem of victim restitution.
It never occurs. You never saw a dime, I will bet. None of us see any money from any of these things. We only have to live with the heartache. We only have to continue with the system. We have to relive these tragedies, as we try to explain or get legislators to listen to us, to finally try to do the right thing so other people don't have to follow in our footsteps.
I have a lot of problems with this system, but this is America. Hey, it is a great country. I welcome the opportunity to get up and stand before you and offer my testimony.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. You do a very good job of that. Thank you.
Ms. Vincent, do you wish to comment on your view of the criminal justice system as it related to you, personally, as opposed to
Ms. VINCENT. I was only 15 at the time this occurred, so I have no memory of that.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I want to thank you again. You have been very courageous for being here today, particularly the two of you who were most recently involved, Ms. Easterling, Ms. Brown, and Ms. Vincent and Mr. Gonzalez, and of course, Mr. Klaas.
We have a lot of work to do. There is no question that we have a criminal justice system that is imperfect and needs perfecting, and the worst of the worst need to be locked up and the key needs to be thrown away. I have used that expression for a number of years. Victims' rights, which is one of the reasons I asked that question and you very eloquently addressed it, really do need to be protected.
We have gone some distance in that direction with the help of a couple of you on the panel. We have more to do. Mr. Salmon, particularly addressing your bill, I am well aware of its import. I think in the overall picture, in the scheme of things, it is a good product. It moves us in the right direction.
As you indicated yourself, there may be some technical changes to it that we need to do. We will work on that with you and do that. We don't have a lot of time left in this Congress. I don't profess to be a magician. I don't think there is any guarantee we can put a bill through in the remaining 2 or 3 weeks. But you have made an excellent opening and I think this hearing has been very beneficial.
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I want to thank you, Mr. Edwards, and all of you for coming the miles you have come to be here today for this hearing.
The Subcommittee on Crime is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:50 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
(Footnote 1 return)
Statistics are derived from four U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Statistics reports: ''Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983'' (April 1989); ''Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault'' (February 1997); ''Examining Recidivism'' (February 1985); and ''Prison Sentences and Time Served for Violence'' (April 1995).
(Footnote 2 return)
USDOJ: Bureau of Justice Statistics: An Analysis of Data on Rape And Sexual Assault; Sex Offenses and Offenders: February, 1997.
(Footnote 3 return)
(Footnote 4 return)
(Footnote 5 return)
(Footnote 6 return)
National Center for Missing And Exploited Children: Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis; 3rd Edition, December, 1992
(Footnote 7 return)
USDOJ: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Violent Crime: April 1994, NCJ147486
(Footnote 8 return)
USDOJ: Bureau of Justice Statistics: National Crime Victimization Survey; Criminal Victimization 1996; November, 1997, NCJ165812
(Footnote 9 return)
USDOJ: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison Sentences and Time Served for Violence: April, 1995, NCJ153858
(Footnote 10 return)
Law and Order, Vol. No. April, 1994 p. 2
(Footnote 11 return)