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 At the close of the 115th Congress, the First Step Act passed the Senate (87-12)  and the House of Representatives (358-36) and was signed into law by President Trump on December 21, 2018. This bill, which made positive changes to the federal prison system as well as some modest federal sentencing reforms was the most significant bipartisan criminal justice reform passed in almost a decade and was one of the first major reform campaigns for the Due Process Institute .


Following this important achievement, Due Process Institute continues to look for those criminal justice reform issues where the Left and Right can come together for the common good as well as new partnerships from across the political spectrum to join our efforts to prevent the further erosion of procedural due process rights in our criminal legal system.

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Pending Federal Legislation We Support

S. 2566 - Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

This bill protects due process and the right to a jury trial by ensuring that during sentencing, a judge is not permitted to consider conduct for which the defendant was found not guilty. This guarantees that a defendant's sentence is based only on the conduct for which he or she was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

SAPRA restores reasonable safeguards for the privacy of American citizens by significantly reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act in ways that will not undermine our national security. It ends the Section 215 Call Detail Records program, imposes uniform warrant requirements similar to those in our criminal justice system, and prevents federal agencies from fabricating parallel investigations to protect evidence collected in a manner that conflicts with federal law or Constitutional protections. 


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.


Update: On March 11th, 2020 the House passed a compromise package of reforms. The Senate rejected this legislation and has voted to extend the Section 215 programs for 77 days so they can fully consider more thoughtful reforms. 

H.R. 1895 - The FAIR Act

H.R. 5675 - Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020

H.R. 4018 - Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program

The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act of 2019 improves protections for Americans when facing civil asset forfeiture. It increases the burden of proof from a preponderance of evidence to clear-and-convincing evidence; ends the practice of equitable sharing; and directs forfeiture funds into a general fund to disincentivize wrongful takings, among other protections. 


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.

H.R. 4018 - Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

H.R. 4018 - Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program

This bill corrects a drafting error that limits the eligibility of the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program in the First Step Act.  Rather than requiring that 2/3 of the original sentence be served, it requires that the inmate serve  2/3 of the sentence "reduced by any credit toward the service of the prisoner’s sentence awarded under" the Good Time Credits.


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 


Update: The bill passed the House by unanimous voice vote and has moved to the Senate.

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

This bill requires the Bureau of Prisons to create a system to allow those in federal custody the right to confidentially communicate over e-mail with their attorneys without government monitoring. 


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 


Update: The bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee. 

E-mail Privacy Act

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

H.R. 5546 - Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act

This bill sets standards for government access to private internet communications without a warrant.  It includes reforms that implement the Sixth Circuit’s decision in U.S. v. Warshak, which held that email content is protected by the Fourth Amendment and that law enforcement access requires a probable cause warrant.   


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 


Outcome: The House of Representatives passed this bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 but this provision failed to be approved in the Senate. 

S. 1074 / H.R. 2168 - The REAL Act

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

The Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act, restores Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals so they can receive post-secondary education in prison.  


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

This bill expands access to entrepreneurship training and business mentorship to individuals who are returning to their community from federal prison.


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 


Update: On January 8th, 2020 the House passed this legislation and it is awaiting a vote by the Senate's Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  

S. 3240 - Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2020

H.R 5065 - Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act

S. 3240 - Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2020

This bill helps victims of human trafficking avoid the negative consequences of a criminal record connected with their victimization. It allows judges to vacate convictions and expunge federal arrest records when a criminal conviction is connected to their victimization. 


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.

H.R. 4252 - Shift Back to Society Act of 2019

H.R. 4252 - Shift Back to Society Act of 2019

S. 3240 - Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2020

This bill establishes 10 pilot reentry programs at historically black colleges and universities with funding to match the resources already committed by these institutions.


The Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 

S. 3441 - Fair Hiring in Banking Act

H.R. 4252 - Shift Back to Society Act of 2019

S. 3441 - Fair Hiring in Banking Act

Current law prevents individuals with a criminal record from working in the banking industry. This legislation would reduce the barriers faced by qualified individuals solely on account of their criminal record by reducing the necessary waiting periods imposed by federal law.

The Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill. 

S. 2227 / H.R. 3884 - The MORE Act

H.R. 4252 - Shift Back to Society Act of 2019

S. 3441 - Fair Hiring in Banking Act

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884)  de-schedules marijuana, removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, and provides a process for courts to expunge marijuana convictions and re-sentence people with marijuana convictions. 


Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.


Update: The bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee.

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

 This bill would empower the DOJ Inspector General to investigate misconduct allegations made against DOJ attorneys, rather than the current system that gives that responsibility to the Office of Professional Responsibility.


 Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bipartisan bill.  


Update: The bill has passed the House of Representatives.

Emergency GRACE Act

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

Among other reforms, this bill would ensure all individuals incarcerated in federal prisons, regardless of their sentencing date, can apply directly to a judge for compassionate release. It would specifically  extend the reforms included in the First Step Act to federal prisoners who have been serving sentences rendered before November of 1987. 


 Due Process Institute ENDORSES this bill.

S. 685 / H.R. 202 - Inspector General Access Act of 2019

 

Pending Federal Legislation That Concerns Us

S. 3398 - EARN IT Act

H.R. 2513 - Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

H.R. 2513 - Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

This legislation would create a national commission that would be tasked with creating “best practices” for how private technology companies can detect certain illegal content. While an important goal, this legislation presents a significant risk of violating the constitutional rights of many Americans and exacerbating many of the problems that already exist in our criminal justice system.  


Due Process Institute OPPOSES this bill. 

H.R. 2513 - Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

H.R. 2513 - Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

H.R. 2513 - Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

This bill would require people who form or already own small businesses and many nonprofits to submit extensive personal, financial, and business-related information to the government.  It would create 5 new federal crimes, defined with vague terms and standards, for first-time offense paperwork violations. The new regime would result in high burdens for small businesses and charities, exposing individuals to potential privacy violations as well as unnecessary incarceration. 


Update: The bill passed the House 249 - 173 and has moved to the Senate.

Due Process Institute OPPOSES this bill and several related measures in both the House and the Senate (e.g. S. 1889 and S. 1978). 


Previous Successful Legislative Campaigns

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

This bill limited the IRS' ability to seek forfeiture in cases where the only suspected crime is "structuring" rather than another crime for which structuring is used to conceal wrongdoing.

 
Due Process Institute ENDORSED this bill. 


Outcome: The RESPECT Act was incorporated into the Taxpayer First Act and signed into federal law on July 10, 2019.

USA PATRIOT Act Section 314(a)

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

Section 314 of the Patriot Act and its implementing regulations already give significant cause for concern and fail to adequately protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. Attempts to expand this program through statutory or regulatory means are even more concerning. It is our hope that FinCEN will reevaluate the necessity and efficacy of the Section 314 program and ultimately abandon the practice of warrantless searches and seizures of financial records, or at the very least, adopt clear legal standards and procedural measures consistent with our foundational Constitutional rights. 


Due Process Institute has thus far successfully OPPOSED past attempts at legislative expansions of Section 314 of the Patriot Act.

H.B. 6873 - Discovery in Criminal Cases In Virginia

H.R. 1219 / S. 1099 - Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act

H.B. 6873 - Discovery in Criminal Cases In Virginia

This legislation expanded the rights of defendants in a criminal trial in Virginia to request evidence being used by the prosecution as proof of their guilt and to file motions compelling such discovery with state courts.


Due Process Institute ENDORSED this legislation.