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Consensus about DC Post-Arrest Legislation

There was consensus among the groups testifying in support of the Post-Arrest Process Clarification Amendment Act of 2013, Bill #20-323, at a hearing before the DC Council Judiciary Committee on November 21. CCE, along with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, the DC Police Union, the DC Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the DC Office of the Attorney General, largely commented that CCE's report was “excellent” and provided needed clarity for police and citizens. The legislation was co-introduced by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Tommy Wells, and co-sponsored by Councilmember Mary Cheh.

The legislation is the result of CCE research conducted over the past two years leading to the publication in May 2013 of Clarifying the Post-Arrest Process in the District of Columbia, an effort led by CCE Director and Pretrial Services Agency Director Cliff Keenan.

The testimony from MPD and OAG suggested one possible addition to the proposed legislation, which is to provide additional language that clarifies that the post-arrest release options articulated in the legislation do not constitute a private right of action in the event that an arrestee, through mistake, is not granted post-arrest release. These agencies argued, in part, that such language would protect the MPD official that is charged with making the post-arrest decision and possibly encourage greater use of the post-arrest options.

The next steps for the legislation are for a committee report on the hearing and to move from the Judiciary Committee to the full DC Council for two legislative readings. CCE will continue to monitor the legislation's progress in the DC Council.


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