Washington Markup

"I’ll Never See My Son's Prom Picture"

"I’ll Never See My Son's Prom Picture"

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:00pm
Lucille MacBeth, mother of slain Florida teen Jordan Russell Davis, did all she could to keep from crying during her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution earlier this week. After nearly five minutes of testimony, Lucille stopped speaking, looked down and then back up, this time with tears in her eyes: "I'll never get to see my son's prom photo. I never get to hear how much he enjoys his dad's chili. No one else will ever get to know him. He'll never get to join the Marines like he dreamed and all because of guns and the power of these laws. These laws embolden people with hate to take action with that hate."
Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:10pm

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason."

That's what Attorney General Eric Holder said in an historic speech before the American Bar Association earlier this year. He was talking about people…

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:27pm

Senator Leahy closed this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mandatory minimums by asking everyone in the room with a loved one serving a mandatory minimum to stand up. The whole audience stood.

This was a poignant display of…

Washington Gives Us Something to Get Excited About (No, Really!)

Washington Gives Us Something to Get Excited About (No, Really!)

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:35pm

If you care about criminal justice reform, you're coming off a really good month in Washington. Don't believe me? Here's what you have to get excited about:

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released its preliminary report on the effectiveness…
U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

By Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 9:56am

The REPEAL Act gained more influential supporters on Tuesday when the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the bill. The REPEAL Act, sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), represents a bipartisan effort to provide incentives…

Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:39pm

Last month, Congressmen Sensenbrenner and other members of the House Judiciary Committee announced a task force to address the ever increasing scope and breathe of the federal criminal system. This news drew cheers from activists, policy wonks and…

Congress Takes Much Needed Step Forward on Over-Criminalization

Congress Takes Much Needed Step Forward on Over-Criminalization

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 4:59pm

Earlier this month, a high school honors student named Kiera Wilmot was charged with felony discharge of a weapon on school property. Her crime? Creating her own science experiment.

When Kiera mixed several household chemicals together in a…

The Road Ahead for Newtown Legislation

The Road Ahead for Newtown Legislation

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 11:57am

At the beginning of the first Senate hearing on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) instructed those in the hearing room to stand if they had been affected by gun violence. As nearly everyone in the packed hearing room,…

Needed in Immigration Overhaul: Counsel and Alternatives to Incarceration

Needed in Immigration Overhaul: Counsel and Alternatives to Incarceration

By Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 12:13pm

Imagine that you are a lawful resident married to a U.S. citizen serviceman who is deployed overseas, and you are looking for a job to help support your family. You find one, but unbeknownst to you, your employer, aiming to expedite the hiring process,…

A PROMISE to End Youth Gun Violence

A PROMISE to End Youth Gun Violence

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 11:19am

Open today’s newspaper, and I bet that you’ll find at least one story about gun violence. From Newtown to Chicago to Aurora, this last year has put a spotlight on the need to address this violence in a way that creates lasting change.

So…