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It's A New Day In DC

Last week, DC saw the election of a new mayor, three new council members, and for the first time, an attorney general. These transitions in elected leadership will mean both change and opportunity in all areas, not the least of which is continuing to improve justice for DC residents.

For over three decades, the Council for Court Excellence has worked successfully with the DC mayor and council to address critical issues in both civil and criminal justice. We do this through our extensive network of board and committee members, who are able to convene stakeholders and develop policy recommendations that then are translated into law. Here are just a few examples of legislation that CCE was involved in that were passed under different mayoral administrations. Of course, these don’t reflect the many studies and reports we’ve done that have changed non-legislative policies and practices.

Mayor Gray:

-       Clarify and improve post-arrest processes, safely increasing options to jail following police contact;

-       Reduce barriers to employment for returning citizens, through the Reentry Facilitation Act of 2012.

Mayor Fenty:

-       Improve police-community relations and decrease the number of unnecessary arrests through the Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act of 2010;

-       Evaluate the Juvenile Speedy Trial Equity Emergency Act of 2007 and recommend its permanent enactment.

Mayor Williams:

-       Development of legislation that resulted in the creation of the Office of Administrative Hearings;

-       Passage of the Jury Trial Improvement Act;

-       As part of our ongoing reentry work, help formulate the Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2006.

Mayor Kelly:

-       Enactment of the DC Probate Reform Act of 1994, following years of CCE advocacy;

-       Passage of the Victims’ Rights Act of 1994, one of several pieces of victim-related legislation into which CCE provided input.

CCE continues to exist after all these years because the work of improving the systems we rely on for justice never ends. Our unique ability to turn sound research and innovative ideas into public policy initiatives has been an asset to past policymakers, and we look forward to working with Mayor-Elect Bowser, new and continuing members of the DC Council, and AG-Elect Racine in the upcoming years.  And stay connected to CCE to learn more about our focus areas for justice improvement for 2015 and beyond.

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