Both the House and Senate are considering the inclusion of "Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Scheduled Analogues" (SITSA) (H.R. 2851/S. 1327) as part of their bill packages to take action relating to the nation's opioid epidemic. The Due Process Institute signed a bipartisan letter opposing the legislation because the bill will broadly expand penalties for drug offenses, concentrate power within the Department of Justice (DOJ), punish people who lack criminal intent, and overcriminalize certain behavior.
UPDATE: The House's final opioid bill package does not include SITSA.
The Due Process Institute sent a letter to House leadership raising concerns about H.R. 6729 "Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act of 2018” and opposing its placement on the suspension calendar. Joined by Freedomworks, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Defending Rights and Dissent, the Institute opposes this fast-track measure for a bill that will negatively affect privacy rights of individuals and increase surveillance based on mere suspicions of wrongdoing.
At the summer meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Due Process Institute sponsored a resolution encouraging states to establish efficient and fair criminal law discovery practices. The resolution passed and was recently approved by ALEC's board, making it official model policy.
The Virginia Supreme Court approved a rule change that requires prosecutors in all jurisdictions to turn over police reports and witness statements. This is a significant step towards a more fair criminal legal system. The Due Process Institute was part of the effort that encouraged the Court to approve these rule changes.
The House of Representatives passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and included the E-mail Privacy Act. This is an important step towards updating our laws to reflect technological changes and respect the Fourth Amendment. The Due Process Institute signed a letter of support, directed at the Senate Armed Services Committee, to approve the NDAA's language that included the E-mail Privacy Act.
Commenting on banks sharing customer information, Due Process Institute President Shana O'Toole explained: “My concern with this program is what customer information is being shared... Efficiency is great, but constitutional protections are mandated.”
Due Process Institute, in conjunction with NACDL, hosted a screening of Abacus: Small Enough to Jail at the E Street Cinema in Washington DC. Afterwards, Shana O'Toole moderated a Q&A Session with members of the Sung Family and one of the documentary's producers, Mark Mitten.
Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards, the film centers on a small family-owned bank in New York City's Chinatown that was the only financial institution to face criminal charges following the subprime mortgage crisis. The documentary serves as an engrossing legal thriller, as well as a compelling portrait of the Chinese-American community in New York City as it intersects with a deeply flawed criminal legal system.
The Due Process Institute joined several other groups, notably the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, in comments favoring changes to Virginia's discovery rules that we believe will lead to a more just legal system.
Progress! H.R. 5682, the FIRST STEP Act passed the House 360-59, a resounding vote for reform. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. The Due Process Institute supports this legislation.
The Due Process Institute urges the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report important data regarding the government's collection of details of phone calls, as required under the USA FREEDOM Act. Obtaining this data is particularly important given that the number of call detail records collected under surged to over 540 million in 2017 - more than triple what was reported for 2016.
The U.S. Senate considered taking up amendments to current law regarding the quantity of drugs required to trigger mandatory minimum sentences and also considered increasing the length of those sentences. The Due Process Institute joined an effort that successfully convinced the Senate to refrain from pursuing this unhelpful legislation.
The Due Process Institute's President Shana O'Toole was featured with co-author Jason Pye of FreedomWorks in the Morning Consult for their piece, "Second Chance Month Brings Opportunity for Prison Reform."
The Due Process Institute has joined Prison Fellowship as a partner celebrating Second Chance Month, raising awareness for the millions of Americans with a criminal record who deserve a second chance.
The Due Process Institute is honored to join the Digital Due Process Coalition in their efforts to modernize America's surveillance laws in the internet age. The coalition is made up of a broad and diverse group of advocacy organizations and industries working together to enhance your due process rights.