CCE is examining the process by which persons arrested for low-level misdemeanors are eligible for pre-trial release on their own recognizance. While the District’s pre-trial release process considerably minimizes the influence of money as a condition of pre-trial release, the types of crimes that are eligible and the criteria for release are less well known among the public and sometimes among law enforcement officers. There are also “quality of life” crimes that are better resolved by social service intervention rather than a fine or incarceration. The District’s criminal justice system could be better focused on addressing serious crime and utilizing proven methods of addressing low-level crime.
This project has its roots in CCE's examination of and recommendations to revise DC 's disorderly conduct statutes. At the time, the disorderly conduct statutes had not been updated in almost 50 years and no longer conformed to existing DC Court of Appeals and First Amendment caselaw. CCE propsed a series of legislative changes to bring about conformity with caselaw and to promote better understanding of the law among the public and law enforcement officers. The DC Council adopted CCE's proposals as the "Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act of 2010."
Watch a great 5-minute video summarizing of the effects of the new disorderly conduct statute in DC on Fox 5's website.